NEW YORK — The municipal bond market has seen limited trading activity in the secondary market Monday.
There has been activity at the short end of the curve. But the larger deals in the primary market should say the most about buyer interest, despite attractive ratios to Treasuries, a trader in New York said.
“Some people are looking at the very short end of the market,” he said. “Crossover buyers see value there; that’s really about it. Traditional muni buyers are just gearing up for the calendar this week.”
Muni yields on the day have been mostly steady, with some strength found in spots along the curve, according to the Municipal Market Data scale read.
Yields for tax-exempt debt maturing to 2013, from 2016 to 2018, and beyond 2019 are unchanged. Maturities in 2014, 2015, and 2019 are flat to two basis points lower.
Last week ended with benchmark yields unchanged, and with munis largely keeping the gains they had made during the week. The 10-year muni yield held steady at 2.26%, its lowest yield since Sept. 3.
The two-year muni yield remained unchanged at 0.30%, its lowest yield in more than two years. And the 30-year muni yield was steady at 3.88%, still its lowest level since Nov. 2.
As with munis, Treasuries seem so far content to mostly hold their levels. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield has so far risen two basis points to 2.26%.
The 30-year yield also has increased two basis points to 3.73%. The two-year yield ticked up one basis point to 0.20%, two basis points above its all-time low.
The industry anticipates a stronger primary market this. A boost in new deal volume, to around $5.28 billion, is expected this week. That is up from the slight $2.25 billion of municipal bond sales seen last week.
Two Morgan Stanley deals in the negotiated market have the industry’s attention, traders said. The deals, from the Indiana Finance Authority and the California Department of Water Resources, each are expected to total around $1 billion.
In economic news, home builders still see a grim housing market, underpinned by an equally grim and uncertain economy and job market. The monthly gauge of builder sentiment, the National Association of Home Builders’ housing market index, held at 15 in August, not much better than the record low numbers posted earlier this year. This squared with economists’ predictions, according to a Thomson Reuters’ poll.
Builders must contend with a slew of challenges. These include the massive inventory of distressed homes on the market, inaccurate appraisal values, and issues with their buyers not being able to sell an existing home or qualify for favorable mortgage rates because of overly tight underwriting requirements, NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen said in a statement.
Despite low prices and interest rates, and an otherwise large collection of available properties, potential buyers have nonetheless shied away from considering new home purchases.