The calendar for municipal bonds is proving slow to emerge from its late-summer hibernation.
Potential volume for this week is expected to top out at $3.74 billion, up from total sales of just under $1.40 billion last week. Muni industry watchers say volume should pick up in the fall, and that market technicals remain favorable despite historically low yields.
The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York leads all issuers with an expected negotiated deal of $238 million in lease revenue bonds. Otherwise, the competitive market should provide the bulk of the week’s heaviest issues.
Looking at the numbers, $2.33 billion of municipal bonds are scheduled for negotiated sale this week, versus a revised $709.3 million sold last week. Bonds scheduled for competitive sale this week should total $1.41 billion, compared with $686.5 million last week.
Despite the strong environment for munis, bankers are slowly working their way back from late-summer vacations. As such, they appear inclined to hold off on issuance, said John Mousseau, a managing director and portfolio manager at Cumberland Advisors.
“If they have deals that have to come, they’re coming,” he said. “But if they have their druthers, they’re pushing them a little further. Bankers may be out there telling clients to push issues back into the fall, because they usually do have a fairly buoyant bond market later in the season; that’s been the history.”
Still, even though this week’s calendar falls short of what was anticipated, the market looks strong. For one, inflows to muni bond mutual funds persisted through the late-August lull and should keep demand robust, said Justin Hoogendoorn, a managing director of the strategic analytics group for the fixed-income team at BMO Capital Markets.
“Positive flows are very helpful — that’s an important component,” he said. “Flows should pick up a bit, due to some seasonality. Buyers should come back in the market — yields are a little more attractive for buyers this coming week.”
Among negotiated issues, Samuel A. Ramirez & Co. is expected to price $238 million of DASNY lease revenue bonds for state university dormitory facilities, rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA-minus by Standard & Poor’s.
There will be a retail order period Monday. Institutions will be expected to follow on Tuesday. The bonds should arrive structured as serials, maturing from 2013 through 2032, and terms in 2037 and 2042.
On the competitive side, Arkansas is expected to auction $225 million of federal highway grant anticipation and tax revenue general obligation bonds, rated Aa1 by Moody’s and AA by Standard & Poor’s.
The bonds are expected Tuesday. They should arrive structured as serials, maturing from 2015 through 2024.
The Iowa Board of Regents should auction $190 million of hospital revenue bonds for the University of Iowa hospitals and clinics. The bonds are rated Aa2 by Moody’s and AA by Standard & Poor’s.
They are expected Wednesday. The bonds should arrive structured as serials, maturing from 2014 through 2035.
Missouri is expected to auction $171.9 million of state water pollution and fourth state building GO refunding bonds in two series. The bonds are rated triple-A by Moody’s and Fitch.
The two series, $65.8 million of state water pollution control GO refunding bonds and $106.1 million of fourth state building GO refunding bonds, should arrive Tuesday. The bonds should come structured as serials.
The calendar is ripe with high-quality issuance, Hoogendoorn said. That should bode well for the market. “Issuance should be easily absorbed,” he added, “and assuming we get stable Treasury yields, we could have a pretty solid week in the municipal market next week.”