NEW YORK – The tax-exempt market was focused on the primary as several of the week’s largest deals were priced. Outside the primary, market activity remained muted.
“The Municipal Market Data scale hasn’t changed in four days,” a Chicago trader said. “So we’re just sitting here and hoping the next one comes. We are doing a little bit of odd lots, but not large pieces. We are in a tight range and will sit here until a piece of news blasts us out.”
He added the market was painfully slow the past few days. “It was so painful we were in the hospital.”
While the market is still very quiet, $1.8 billion of Illinois general obligation bonds is stealing some attention and is doing well. “I haven’t seen bumps yet but it got off to a real good start.”
Munis were steady to firmer early Tuesday afternoon, according to the Municipal Market Data scale. Yields inside 15 years were steady while the 16- to 21-year yields fell one basis point. Outside 22 years, yields were flat.
On Monday, the two-year yield closed flat at 0.31% for the ninth consecutive trading session while the 30-year ended flat at 3.25% for the sixth consecutive trading session. The 10-year yield finished at 1.87% for the fourth time.
Treasuries were weaker. The two-year yield rose one basis point to 0.28% while the benchmark 10-year yield increased two basis points to 1.95%. The 30-year yield jumped three basis points to 3.15%.
In the primary market, Jefferies & Co. priced $1.8 billion of Illinois general obligation bonds, rated A2 by Moody’s Investors Service, A-plus by Standard & Poor’s, and A by Fitch Ratings.
Yields ranged from 0.90% with a 2% coupon and 1.02% with a 3% coupon in a split 2013 maturity to 4.09% with 4% and 5% coupons in a split 2025 maturity. The bonds are callable at par in 2022.
Recently, 10-year Illinois GOs have been trading 168 basis points above the MMD scale. The 12-month average spread was 160 basis points, according to MMD’s Daniel Berger.
Citi priced for retail $515 million of Louisiana gasoline and fuels tax revenue refunding bonds, rated Aa1 by Moody’s and AA-minus by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch. Institutional pricing is expected Wednesday.
Yields ranged from 0.46% with a 3% coupon in 2014 to 2.53% with 4% and 5% coupons in a split 2024 maturity. Credits maturing in 2013 were offered via sealed bid. Bonds maturing between 2025 and 2032 were not offered for retail. The bonds are callable at par in 2022.
JPMorgan priced $300 million of Los Angeles wastewater system revenue refunding bonds and subordinate revenue refunding bonds. The senior-lien bonds are rated Aa2 by Moody’s and AA-plus by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch. The subordinate bonds are rated Aa3 by Moody’s and AA by S&P and Fitch.
Yields ranged from 0.49% with a 2% coupon in 2014 to 3.53% with a 3.375% coupon and 3.13% with a 5% in a split 2029 maturing. Credits maturing between 2030 and 2032 were not offered for retail. The bonds are callable at par in 2022.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch priced for retail $200 million of Ohio Higher Educational Facility Commission hospital revenue bonds for the University Hospitals Health System. The bonds are rated A2 by Moody’s and A by Standard & Poor’s. Prices were not available by press time.