Muni market focused on Senate tax reform vote, stuffed calendar

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The municipal bond market focused on a burgeoning new issue calendar as participants waited for a U.S. Senate vote on tax reform, which may come before the end of this week.

Added to the already growing schedule of upcoming sales were three competitive refunding offerings from Florida. Advanced refundings would be banned starting in 2018 under tax proposals passed in the House and under discussion in the Senate.

No sale dates have been decided the Florida Board of Education’s $147.27 million of Series 2017C full faith and credit public education capital outlay refunding bonds; the Florida Department of Transportation’s $160 million of Series 2017A turnpike revenue refunding bonds; and the Florida Board of Governors’ $37.11 million of Series 2017B University System improvement re-venue refunding bonds. The state is rated Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service and AAA by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings.

In the negotiated sector, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and HJ Sims announced on Monday that they plan to price the week of Dec. 4 a $239.97 million refunding deal for the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency’s NewBridge on the Charles project. The deal is the largest ever fixed-rate public bond issue for a single site Life Plan Community. The bonds are rated BB-plus by Fitch with a stable outlook.

The Bond Buyer's 30-day visible supply calendar rose $1.68 billion to $18.50 billion on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Municipal Analysts Group of New York postponed its institutional investor conference about Washington, D.C., until Jan. 18-19, 2018.

“The current tax reform legislation pending in the House and Senate that would eliminate advance refundings after the first of the year has caused an extraordinary volume of transactions anticipated to come to market in December,” the group said in a Monday email to its members. “This has caused most institutional investors and other market participants to be fully engaged in dealing with this deal flow, and therefore unable to be away from their offices for any meaningful amount of time during December.”

MAGNY said in order to “better accommodate this market reality and to try to ensure maximum investor participation,” the decision was made to reschedule in the hope that "once the swell of advance refunding transactions has passed by the end of the calendar year, market participants will be better able to focus on the investor conference.”

Primary market
Ipreo estimated volume for this week at $11.73 billion, consisting of $10.03 billion of negotiated deals and $1.71 billion of competitive sales.

Action kicks off on Tuesday when Bank of America Merrill Lynch prices the Pennsylvania Higher Educational Facilities Authority’s $400 million of Series 2017A health system revenue bonds for the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

The deal is rated Aa3 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA-minus by S&P Global Ratings.

BAML is also expected to price the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania’s $200 million of taxable health system bonds for the Pennsylvania Health System on Tuesday.

RBC Capital Markets is expected to price Wisconsin’s $369.48 million of Series 2017 2 transportation revenue refunding bonds on Tuesday.

The advance refunding deal is rated Aa2 by Moody’s and AA-plus by S&P and Fitch and AAA by Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

RBC is set to price for retail on Tuesday the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp.’s $323.55 million of Series 2017E state clean water and drinking water revolving funds revenue bonds for New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority projects.

The subordinated SRF bonds will be priced for institutions on Wednesday and are rated triple-A by Moody’s, S&P and Fitch.

Barclays Capital is set to price the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System’s $253.48 million of Series 2017C revenue financing system refunding bonds on Tuesday. The deal is rated Aaa by Moody’s.

Citigroup is expected to price Houston’s $135 million of airport system special facilities revenue bonds on Tuesday. The deal is rated BB-minus by S&P.

Hilltop Securities is expected to price Monrovia, Calif.’s $115.31 million of Series 2017 taxable pension obligation bonds.

Ziegler is expected to price Carson City, Nev.’s $104.98 million of Series 2017 hospital revenue and refunding bonds for the Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare project. The deal is rated BBB-plus by S&P and Fitch.

Secondary market
Top-rated municipals ended weaker on Monday. The yield on the 10-year benchmark muni general obligation rose four basis points to 2.12% from 2.08% on Friday, while the 30-year GO yield gained three basis points to 2.79% from 2.76%, according to the final read of Municipal Market Data’s triple-A scale.

U.S. Treasuries were mixed in late trade on Monday. The yield on the two-year Treasury was unchanged from 1.74% on Friday, the 10-year Treasury yield dipped to 2.32% from 2.33% and the yield on the 30-year Treasury increased to 2.77% from 2.76%.

On Monday, the 10-year muni-to-Treasury ratio was calculated at 91.1% compared with 89.0% on Friday, while the 30-year muni-to-Treasury ratio stood at 101.0% versus 100.0%, according to MMD.

MBIS 10-year muni at 2.372%, 30-year at 2.868%
The MBIS municipal non-callable 5% GO benchmark scale was weaker in late trading.

The 10-year muni benchmark yield rose to 2.372% on Monday from the final read of 2.347% on Friday, according to Municipal Bond Information Services, a national consortium of municipal interdealer brokers. The MBIS 30-year benchmark muni yield increased to 2.868% from 2.851% on Friday.

The AP-MBIS benchmark index is a yield curve built on market data aggregated from MBIS member firms and is updated hourly on the Bond Buyer Data Workstation.

MSRB: Previous session's activity
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board reported 6,817 trades on Friday on volume of $1.89 billion; the MSRB reported 29,106 trades on Wednesday on volume of $9.27 billion.

Prior week's actively traded issues
Revenue bonds comprised 55.43% of new issuance in the week ended Nov. 24, down from 55.53% in the previous week, according to Markit. General obligation bonds made up 39.27% of total issuance, up from 39.17%, while taxable bonds accounted for 5.30%, unchanged from a week earlier.
Some of the most actively traded bonds by type were from Chicago, Ohio and New Jersey.

In the GO bond sector, the Chicago Board of Education 5s of 2046 were traded 49 times. In the revenue bond sector, the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority 4.5s of 2048 were traded 88 times. And in the taxable bond sector, the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority 3.836s of 2036 were traded 22 times.

Lipper: Muni bond funds report inflows
Investors in municipal bond funds continued to put cash into the funds in the latest week, according to Lipper data released on Friday.

The weekly reporters saw $659.237 million of inflows in the week of Nov. 22, after inflows of $417.719 million in the previous week.
Exchange traded funds reported inflows of $83.606 million, after inflows of $23.098 million in the previous week. Ex-ETFs, muni funds saw $575.631 million of inflows, after inflows of $394.621 million in the previous week.

The four-week moving average was positive at $221.250 million, after being in the green at $121.942 million in the previous week. A moving average is an analytical tool used to smooth out price changes by filtering out fluctuations.

Long-term muni bond funds had inflows of $434.368 million in the latest week after inflows of $373.985 million in the previous week. Intermediate-term funds had inflows of $112.175 million after outflows of $2.017 million in the prior week.

National funds had inflows of $642.814 million on top of inflows of $453.793 million in the previous week.

High-yield muni funds reported inflows of $177.142 million in the latest week, after inflows of $203.559 million the previous week.

Tax-exempt money market funds saw outflows
Tax-exempt money market funds experienced inflows of $568.4 million, bringing total net assets to $129.76 billion in the week ended Nov. 20, according to The Money Fund Report, a service of This followed an outflow of $39.4 million to $129.20 billion in the previous week.

The average, seven-day simple yield for the 198 weekly reporting tax-exempt funds increased to 0.49% from 0.47% in the previous week.

The total net assets of the 832 weekly reporting taxable money funds increased $20.31 billion to $2.606 trillion in the week ended Nov. 14, after an inflow of $5.38 billion to $2.586 trillion the week before.

The average, seven-day simple yield for the taxable money funds increased to 0.73% from 0.71% in the prior week.

Overall, the combined total net assets of the 1,030 weekly reporting money funds increased $20.88 billion to $2.736 trillion in the week ended Nov. 14, after inflows of $5.34 billion to $2.715 trillion in the prior week.

Data appearing in this article from Municipal Bond Information Services, including the MBIS municipal bond index, is available on The Bond Buyer Data Workstation. Click here for a brief tour of the Workstation, or contact Vanessa Kim at 212-803-8474 for more information.

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