Posted in Announcements

The Associated Press Municipal Bond Index launches Monday

, by Lauren Easton

On Monday, AP will unveil a new, branded index to measure municipal bond performance.

The Associated Press Municipal Bond Index will be added to a selection of markets tables and glances sent to AP customers.

The index is a collaboration with Municipal Bond Information Services, LLC, which is a national consortium of municipal inter-dealer brokers. Announced in April, the index is the only benchmark based on observable, intraday pretrade and trade data.

This is what The Associated Press Municipal Bond Index will look like. (AP Photo)

Global Business Editor Lisa Gibbs sent this memo to AP staff, introducing the index and explaining how it will work:

The last time AP put its name on a financial markets index*, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. On Monday, we will do it again. The Associated Press Municipal Bond Index will reflect trading in more than 5,200 tax-exempt municipal bonds around the country. Just as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index measures the performance of large U.S. stocks, the AP Muni Bond Index will do the same for the $3.7 trillion municipal bond universe. Along with the index, Business News will beef up our coverage of municipal bonds and the government projects behind them. This initiative fits with AP’s mission in a couple of ways. First, an awful lot of individual investors buy muni bonds (as opposed to institutions like hedge funds). These are people who like the idea of tax-free income — and who read AP news. Second, these bonds — debt securities issued by local governments to raise money for capital projects like roads — offer windows into the financial health and doings of our states and cities, where AP’s reporting is second to none. We can use this data to strengthen that coverage. AP’s partner is a network of bond dealers called MBIS. Along with MBIS, AP's sales team will sell the index and underlying data primarily to investment firms. The business side believes the initiative has the potential to bring in significant revenue over the next few years. *About AP’s history with indexes: In 1935, AP introduced the Associated Press Average, of 60 stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange. AP discontinued the index in the mid-1990s.

The Associated Press Municipal Bond Index will be used on a wider scale beginning Sept. 5.