Dreyfus Tax Sensitive Total Return Bond Fund

Scorecard
2 / 5 Stars
Lipper
2 2 4 3 1
Zacks Investment Research
3 (Hold)
Standard & Poor's
3 / 5 Stars
TheStreet.com
C+ (Hold)

#43 in Muni National Interm

U.S. News evaluated 83 Muni National Interm Funds. Our list highlights the top-rated funds for long-term investors based on the ratings of leading fund industry researchers.

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Performance

The fund has returned 4.28 percent over the past year, 3.35 percent over the past three years, 4.50 percent over the past five years, and 3.98 percent over the past decade.  

Trailing Returns Updated 06.30.2014
Year to date 3.5%
1 Year 4.3%
3 Years (Annualized) 3.4%
5 Years (Annualized) 4.5%
10 Years (Annualized) 4.0%

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Summary

Dreyfus/Standish Intermediate Tax-Exempt Bond takes a middle-of-the-road approach to the municipal bond market.

As of July 03, 2014, the fund has assets totaling almost $154.29 million invested in 115 different holdings. Its portfolio consists of municipal bonds (debt issued by state and local governments, as well as their agencies). 

This municipal bond fund performed relatively well during the turbulence of the credit crisis and continues to post consistent, if not spectacular, returns largely because of its steady, conservative strategy, which puts a premium on bonds at the higher end of the credit spectrum. As of the end of October, its trailing three-year returns landed it in the top quarter of Morningstar's intermediate-term national municipal bond category. In 2009, the fund benefitted from a recovery in the muni market. This rally was particularly strong toward the lower end of the credit spectrum, since that was the part that was battered the hardest during the downturn. Still, these aren't the types of bonds that the fund focuses on, and it became even more wary of them after their blockbuster performance, with management betting more recently that the low-quality rally had started to run its course. At the same time, the fund, coming out of the recession, benefitted from its exposure to hospital and construction bonds. Going forward, one of the bigger risks for the fund is rising interest rates and shaky state finances that roiled muni funds in late 2010. Rates, which are at historic lows, can only go up, and when that happens, bond prices will go down. The fund has returned 4.28 percent over the past year and 3.35 percent over the past three years.  

Historically, the fund has done a fine job of achieving its goal: providing investors with steady income and tax advantages (muni investors traditionally do not need to pay federal income taxes on their interest). The fund has had very few blockbuster years, but it has long been a consistent performer. As of the end of October, the fund's trailing 15-year returns landed it in the top third of Morningstar's intermediate-term national municipal bond category. The fund has returned 4.50 percent over the past five years and 3.98 percent over the past decade.  

Investment Strategy

According to the fund's prospectus: "The portfolio managers focus on identifying undervalued sectors and securities and select municipal bonds using fundamental credit analysis to estimate the relative value and attractiveness of various sectors and securities and actively trade among various sectors based on their apparent relative values."

Role in Portfolio

This fund could lend support to a well-balanced portfolio.

Management

10-year veterans Steven Harvey and Christine Todd were joined by Thomas Casey in early 2010. The three share responsibility for portfolio management. 

Fees

Dreyfus Tax Sensitive Total Return Bond Fund has an expense ratio of 0.70 percent.  

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Risk

Going forward, one of the bigger risks is rising interest rates. When interest rates go up, bond prices will fall. 

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