The tax-exempt market was steady Thursday morning ahead of another large primary issuance day. Traders said there has been demand for deals so far this week, but not enough to move the market dramatically.

Munis were steady Thursday morning, according to the Municipal Market Data scale. On Wednesday, the two-year yield closed flat at 0.31% for the third consecutive session. The 10-year yield finished steady at 1.73% for the third session, closing six basis points above its record low of 1.67% set Jan. 18. The 30-year yield fell one basis point to 2.91%, setting a new record low as recorded by MMD. The previous record low was 2.92% set Monday.

The Treasury yield curve steepened as yields on the short end fell while yields on the long end rose. The two-year yield fell one basis point to 0.22% while the benchmark 10-year yield and the 30-year yield each rose one basis point to 1.50% and 2.60%, respectively.

In the primary market, JPMorgan is expected to price $540 million of Miami-Dade County Transit System sales surtax revenue bonds, rated A1 by Moody's Investors Service, AA by Standard & Poor's, and AA-minus by Fitch Ratings.

RBC Capital Markets is expected to price $217.6 million of North East Independent School District, Texas, unlimited tax general obligation bonds, rated Aa1 by Moody's and AA-minus by Standard & Poor's. The bonds are backed by the Permanent School Fund Guarantee Program.

JPMorgan is expected to price triple-A rated Harris County, Texas, tax and subordinate lien revenue refunding bonds.

In economic news, initial jobless claims rose 34,000 to 386,000 for the week ending July 14, paring the drop in claims from the previous week. Economists had expected claims to rise 15,000 to 365,000.

Continuing claims rose 1,000 to 3.314 million for the week ending July 7.

"The volatility in initial jobless claims over the last two weeks is due to seasonal adjustment difficulties related to summer factory retooling shutdowns, which have not followed the usual pattern this year," wrote economists at RDQ Economics. "Through the volatility, the four-week average of claims has drifted lower between the June and July employment survey weeks, but this report does not suggest that there was a significant change in the pace of job losses between the two months."
In other economic news, existing home sales fell 5.4% in June to a seasonally adjusted 4.37 million-unit rate. The sales fell short of analyst expectations of 4.62 million sales.

Also, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey's business activity index came in at a negative 12.9 in July versus a negative 16.6 in June.


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