NEW YORK – Traders are staying busy as the primary market is taking all the attention in the tax-exempt market Wednesday morning. Munis are steady ahead of new deal pricings, even as Treasuries fall lower on positive economic news.
“The market is off on the long end right now, but it doesn’t really feel like it’s falling too off in munis,” a New Jersey trader said. “New deals are keeping us busy.”
He was looking at the Maine Turnpike Authority deal in the secondary market, he added.
Munis were steady Wednesday morning, according to the Municipal Market Data scale.
On Tuesday, the two-year yield ended steady at 0.26%, its record low as recorded by MMD on Feb. 16. The 10-year and the 30-year yields fell one basis point each to 1.84% and 3.22%, respectively.
Treasuries were weaker on positive economic news. The benchmark 10-year yield rose four basis points to 1.99%. The two-year yield increased one basis point to 0.31% while the 30-year yield jumped three basis points to 3.10%.
In the primary market, JPMorgan is expected to hold its second day of retail on $2 billion of California various purpose general obligation refunding bonds, rated A1 by Moody’s Investors Service and A-minus by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.
In the first retail order period, yields ranged from 0.66% with 2%, 3%, and 5% coupons in a split 2014 maturity to 4.375% priced at par and 4.09% with a 5% coupon in a split 2038 maturity. Credits maturing between 2025 and 2026, between 2028 and 2031, and in 2033 were not offered for retail. The bonds are callable at par in 2022.
Wells Fargo is expected to price $170.3 million of County of Guilford, N.C., general obligation public improvement refunding bonds, rated triple-A by all three rating agencies.
In the competitive market, Alabama Public School and College Authority is expected to auction $162.1 million of refunding bonds in two pricing – $80.3 million and $81.8 million. The bonds are rated Aa1 by Moody’s and AA by Standard & Poor’s.
Oyster Bay, N.Y., is expected to auction $153.8 million of short-term notes, rated SP-1-plus.
In economic news, preliminary real gross domestic product grew 3% in the fourth quarter of 2011, the highest gain since the second quarter of 2010 when it grew 3.8%. The 3% increase was upwardly revised from a projected 2.8% for the fourth quarter and followed a 1.8% increase in the third quarter.
The gain beat analysts’ expectations of a 2.8% jump in the fourth quarter.
“The extent of these revisions to nominal GDP should serve to remind us that the first release of GDP should be taken with a large handful of salt,” wrote economists at RDQ Economics. “We maintain that employment, industrial production, [and] ISM reports provide a better comprehensive view of the health of U.S. economic growth than the GDP report. That said, we expect the 3% growth pace of the fourth quarter of 2011 to be matched throughout 2012.”