A turbulent week for the municipal market came to a quiet end Friday. And all things considered, munis fared pretty well by largely holding on to their gains — even if they underperformed Treasuries on the day and for the week.
The week was a hectic one for the muni market. It had to contend with slight new issuance, already-low yields, heavy outflows from muni bond funds, roiling equities markets, negative economic indicators, a revealing and market-moving statement from the Federal Reserve, and a struggling and vacationing Europe. But it emerged firmer with yields lower by at least five basis points across the curve.
“Today, we had light to moderate activity,” a trader in New York said. “But we solidified what had been developing all week. We were strongest through 10 or 11 years.”
After rallying for much of the week, tax-exempt yields ended the day’s session narrowly mixed throughout the curve, according to Municipal Market Data. Maturities in 2012 to 2016, 2020 to 2025, and beyond 2038 were unchanged.
Those maturing between 2017 and 2019 fell one basis point. And munis maturing between 2026 and 2038 rose one to two basis points.
Friday ended with benchmark yields unchanged, and with munis largely keeping the gains they had made during the week. The 10-year muni yield held steady at 2.26%, its lowest yield since Sept. 3. Since the start of last week, it fell 12 basis points.
The two-year muni yield remained unchanged at 0.30%, its lowest yield in more than two years. It fell five basis points for the week.
The 30-year muni yield was unchanged at 3.88%, still its lowest level since Nov. 2. For the week, it dropped seven basis points.
Treasuries also had an exciting week. They closed the day mostly lower.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield, after a 26 basis point jump on Thursday, dropped 10 basis points Friday to 2.24%. Since its Aug. 5 close, the 10-year dropped 44 basis points by midweek, only to gain half of it back Thursday. It still ended the week down 30 basis points.
The 30-year yield, which vaulted higher with a stunning 31 basis point leap Thursday, dropped eight basis points Friday to close at 3.71%. On the week, it fell 33 basis points from its Aug. 5 close, only to rebound to an 11 basis point loss all told.
The two-year yield held steady at 0.19%, one basis point above its all-time low. It fell nine basis points during the week.
Muni ratios to Treasuries are higher along most of the curve compared withtheir averages for 2011, even though they dropped from their highs on Aug. 9, according to MMD numbers.
After getting little support from the primary last week, there are expectations of a boost in volume to, at least, June levels. The industry expects $5.28 billion of deals this week, up from the measly $2.25 billion expected for last week.
The stock markets, which plunged and soared in equal measure on successive days for most of the week, ended up by at least 0.53% Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1.13%, or by almost 126 points.