Own Puerto Rico bonds? Pro sees a 'silver lining'

Puerto Rico: Buyer beware
Puerto Rico: Buyer beware   

Investors who already own insured Puerto Rico bonds should not fret about the island's deepening debt concerns, a municipal bond expert said on Wednesday.

"You're going to get paid in full even if there's restructuring," Alexandra Lebenthal, president and CEO of Lebenthal & Co., said in an interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Puerto Rico faces about $73 billion in debt, some of which is linked to debt service payment. Concerns about the obligations have contributed to falling bond prices, which have sent some yields soaring above 10 percent.

Alexandra Lebenthal
Jonathan Alcorn | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Alexandra Lebenthal

Lebenthal cautioned against investing in the bonds despite the appealing yields. The situation remains uncertain for many bondholders, particularly after a federal judge on Friday overturned a law that would allow the government to restructure some debt.

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Investors grew wary of protected bonds after many bond insurance companies were downgraded during the global financial crisis, Lebenthal said. Owners of insured bonds won't avoid a hit from developments in Puerto Rico, but insurance provides a "silver lining" in the situation, she said.

"You are actually in good shape if you own insured Puerto Ricos. The value's still gone down, but you should still be money good," she said.

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