Volume will be on the light side again this week, with $3.85 billion coming to market at a time of rising interest rates, poor liquidity, and overall market uncertainty, according to Ipreo LLC and The Bond Buyer.
The anticipated volume is only $83 million shy of last week’s revised $3.02 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. Around $8 billion a week is typical.
Issuers pricing deals this week are likely to face a challenging market in which many retail investors are taking a wait-and-see approach.
Meanwhile, many institutional players are selling bonds at a brisk pace due to the overall market uncertainty surrounding rates.
Some scheduled deals were placed on the day-to-day calendar because of the volatility.
The generic 30-year triple-A GO bond closed at a 5.08% yield at the end of trading Friday after closing at a 4.79% last Monday, according to Municipal Market Data.
“Municipals are experiencing even more pressure than what was experienced in the market during the last six weeks of last year,” John Hallacy, head of municipal research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, wrote in his weekly commentary released Friday.
“Selling pressure has been great at a time when the new-issuance calendar has been relatively light. Muni funds continue to experience outflows, and it appears that at least a portion of the flow has been heading to equities.”
The largest deal to test the market is a planned $450 million revenue sale from the New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority.
It is scheduled for pricing Wednesday by Jefferies & Co. and is expected to be rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA-plus by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.
A $200 million sale of hospital revenue bonds from the Philadelphia Hospitals and Higher Education Facilities Authority was moved to the day-to-day calendar Friday due to the market volatility, according to an underwriter at book-runner JPMorgan, which was set to price the deal this week on behalf of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Project.
Chicago will top Midwest activity with $288 million of Series 2010C-1 taxable GO bonds Wednesday in a negotiated deal being led by Loop Capital Markets. The bonds are expected to be rated Aa3 by Moody’s, A-plus by Standard & Poor’s, and AA-minus by Fitch. They mature in a single bullet in 2035.
In the California market, the San Francisco Airport Commission is planning to launch $225 million of second series revenue refunding bonds on behalf of the San Francisco International Airport.
The negotiated deal, which is scheduled for pricing Thursday by Siebert, Brandford Shank & Co., consists of three series of bonds. Each series is rated A1 by Moody’s, A by Standard & Poor’s, and A-plus by Fitch.
Series 2011A-1 consists of $46.6 million of revenue bonds, while Series 2011A-2 consists of $77 million of revenue bonds.
Both series are subject to the alternative minimum tax. Series 2011B is comprised of $99.48 million of non-AMT governmental purpose debt.
In addition, the Southern California Public Power Authority has $195 million of subordinate transmission project revenue bonds on tap.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. is set to price the deal Wednesday in two series. Both are rated AA-minus by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch and mature from 2012 to 2019.
In the competitive market, Washington has a two-pronged offering Wednesday of various-purpose GOs totaling $449 million.
The larger piece consists of $358 million of bonds maturing serially from 2012 to 2036. The smaller piece consists of $91 million of taxable debt maturing serially from 2012 to 2020.
The bonds are rated double-A plus by all three major credit agencies.
Steadily rising rates caused last week’s largest deal — tax-exempt school facility construction bonds by the New Jersey Educational Development Authority — to be cut to $967.7 million from $1.6 billion.
Pricing also was pushed back a day to Thursday, due to a severe snowstorm in the New York area.
The New Jersey deal arrived on the fourth consecutive day of declines in municipal bond prices, partly attributed to selling by mutual funds with stock-hungry clients.
Investors have redeemed $14.6 billion from municipal bond funds the past five weeks, according to the Investment Company Institute.
Tax-exempt yields weakened three to five basis points Thursday inside 20 years and about 10 basis points out longer, according to traders.
In addition, The Bond Buyer 20-bond index of 20-year GO yields rose 31 basis points last week to a roughly two-year high of 5.39%. The index has not been higher since Dec. 18, 2008, when it was 5.46%.
Yields for high-quality 30-year municipal bonds rose to nearly a two-year high of about 5%, while the rise in interest rates amounted to about seven to 10 basis points in spots, according to traders.
Bank of America Merrill received $300 million in retail orders for the New Jersey deal and priced the final tax-exempt refunding bond in 2025 with a 5 1/4% coupon and 5.52% yield.
That was 51 basis points higher than the generic, triple-A GO bond in 30 years tracked by MMD at the time of the pricing.
The bonds are rated Aa3 by Moody’s, and AA-minus by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch.
The authority also sold about $123 million of taxable bonds in the same deal.