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U.S. stock markets were enjoying an eighth consecutive year of a bull market until volatility toward the end of 2018 erased all of the past year’s gains.1 In times like this, as share prices continue to bounce back and forth on a day-to-day basis, investors close to or in retirement often transition to more conservative investments. One option is the municipal bond market.
Thirty years ago, developed markets were seen as much more stable than smaller, emerging countries. But as political division and uncertainty permeates the West, the differences have faded, and emerging markets (EM) have shed the high-risk perception that accompanied foreign investment.
Sound government situations, conservative monetary policy and lower levels of debt were once staples of developed markets, while EMs posed higher risks with regard to politics and central bank policies. EM countries have evolved, along with their institutions and policies, while populist politicians have gained prominence in the West by touting the benefits of isolationism and protectionism.1