The municipal market opened at a slow pace on Thursday with few new deals in the market after a heavy day of pricing on Wednesday.
"It's opening up pretty quiet here this morning," one trader in New York said. "No real new deals are getting priced today. It's the beginning of the new month, money's hitting retail accounts, and it may get rolling this afternoon."
As the U.S. government begins its third day in a shutdown, traders differed on whether the stalemate in Washington was having an effect on municipal activity. One trader in New York said it may have "sidelined" investors, while another said he doubted the congressional impasse had anything to do with slow activity Thursday.
"At this point there's not much activity, but there was a moderate amount of retail done yesterday, so that would suggest there might have to be some adjustments," another New York-based trader said. "We're going into institutional today on yesterday's Connecticut deal. They had a moderate amount of retail with fairly aggressive prices so the question is, will there be any price adjustments to get done?"
Ramirez & Co. priced for retail $575 million of Connecticut general obligation bonds, rated Aa3 by Moody's Investors Service and AA by Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings and Kroll Bond Ratings.
Preliminary pricing for $560 million of the Connecticut GOs included the addition of a 5% coupon bond with a maturity in 2026, a yield of 3.17% and an option to call in 2020.
Yields ranged from 0.73% with 3% and 4% coupons maturing in 2016 to 3.56% with a 5% coupon in 2027. The bonds are callable at par in 2023.
In other economic news, initial jobless claims rose 1,000 to 308,000 in the week ended Sept. 28. The four-week average of 305,000 is the lowest since the week of May 26, 2007, and its fifth straight decline, the Labor Department reported Thursday.