The municipal bond market weakened Friday, following Treasuries, after eight days of steady to stronger gains that pushed yields lower by nearly 20 basis points.
Activity was higher than a typical quiet Friday afternoon as Hawaii issued over $800 million of bonds for retail investors. Bank of America Merrill Lynch held the first of two retail order periods for $806.8 million of Hawaii general obligation bonds, rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings. A second retail order period is expected Monday followed by institutional pricing Tuesday.
Yields on the first series of $635 million ranged from 1.16% with a 5% coupon in 2018 to 4.14% with a 4% coupon in 2033. Portions of bonds maturing between 2025 and 2033 were not offered for retail. The bonds are callable at par in 2023.
The second series of $35.6 million was offered via sealed bid.
The third series of $58.6 million yielded 0.37% with 3% and 5% coupons in a split 2015 maturity.
The fourth series of $27 million yielded 0.57% with 3% and 5% coupons in a split 2016 maturity.
Yields on the fifth series of $50.6 million ranged from 0.84% with a 3% coupon in 2017 to 2.66% with a 3% coupon in 2023.
“It’s a little quiet, but there is secondary trading going on. I chalk it up to Nov. 1 coupon reinvestments,” a New York trader said. “Trades are in the six- to eight-year range mostly.”
On Friday, the triple-A Municipal Market Data scale ended as much as two basis points weaker. The 10-year and 30-year yields rose two basis points to 2.46% and 4.06%, respectively. The two-year was steady for the fourth session at 0.34%.
Yields on the Municipal Market Advisors benchmark scale ended as much as three basis points weaker. The 10-year yield rose three basis points to 2.62% and the 30-year yield increased two basis points to 4.25%. The two-year was flat for the third session at 0.48%.
Treasuries were much weaker on better-than-expected economic data released Friday morning. The benchmark 10-year yield jumped nine basis points to 2.63% and the 30-year yield rose seven basis points to 3.70%. The two-year was flat at 0.32%.
Treasuries sold off after St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said the central bank’s policy making committee would make sure economic growth was sustainable before tapering its bond purchasing program, but that the likelihood of tapering will continue to rise.
“Substantial improvement in labor markets gets easier and easier to satisfy on a cumulative basis as labor markets continue to heal,” he said, adding the unemployment rate and non-farm payroll employment “have shown clear improvement” over the past year.