T. Rowe Price Summit Municipal Intermediate Fund

U.S. News evaluated 82 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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Note: Profile written for different share class.

Performance

The fund has returned 0.47 percent over the past year, 4.59 percent over the past three years, 4.73 percent over the past five years, and 3.74 percent over the past decade.

Trailing Returns Updated 03.31.2014
Year to date 2.6%
1 Year 0.5%
3 Years (Annualized) 4.6%
5 Years (Annualized) 4.7%
10 Years (Annualized) 3.7%

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Summary

The way T. Rowe Price Summit Municipal Intermediate’s manager sees it, slow and steady wins the race.

As of April 22, 2014, the fund has assets totaling almost $3.38 billion invested in 635 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 well during the turbulence of the credit crisis. In 2008, when the municipal bond market foundered, this fund managed to eke out a positive return. That feat is a testament to management’s steady approach, which emphasizes bonds at the higher end of the credit spectrum. Currently, management’s bread-and-butter investment is grade AA fare. Still, since 2009, the fund has stalled a bit, marginally underperforming its peers in what has been a relatively good market for municipal bonds. Notably, yield-starved investors have been turning to munis as interest rates remain at historic lows. When rates creep up, this fund will be relatively well positioned, since, relative to its peers, its average duration is fairly short. Funds with higher average durations take on more interest rate risk and suffer more from rising rates. The fund has returned 0.47 percent over the past year and 4.59 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 (municipal bond investors traditionally do not need to pay federal income taxes on their interest). As of the end of October, the fund’s trailing 10-year returns landed it in the top 13 percent of Morningstar’s intermediate-term national municipal bond category.  The fund has returned 4.73 percent over the past five years and 3.74 percent over the past decade.

Investment Strategy

According to the fund’s prospectus: “The fund will invest primarily in investment-grade municipal securities. There are no maturity limitations on individual securities, but the fund`s weighted average effective maturity will normally range between five and 10 years ... Within this broad structure, investment decisions reflect the manager’s outlook for interest rates and the economy as well as the prices and yields of various securities. For example, if we expect rates to fall, the manager may buy longer-term securities to provide higher yield and appreciation potential.”

Role in Portfolio

Morningstar calls the fund a “supporting player.”

Management

Charlie Hill manages the fund.

Fees

Fees are Low compared to funds in the same category.
T. Rowe Price Summit Municipal Intermediate Fund has an expense ratio of 0.75 percent.

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Risk

Risk is Below Average compared to funds in the same category according to Morningstar.

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