The municipal market was slightly firmer yesterday as some of the week's largest deals were priced in the primary.
"We're firming up a little bit," a trader in New York said. "It's mostly the short and intermediate part of the curve that's been cheapening up over the past few weeks. We're seeing yields come in a little bit. Probably better a basis point or two right now. The long end is pretty flat, though."
"We are somewhat firmer," a trader in San Francisco said. "We're probably better a good two basis points or so overall. It's the short end, mostly. I'm not really seeing a ton of movement outside of 15 years or so. But I'd say we're picking up a couple basis points overall."
In the new-issue market yesterday, Bank of America Merrill Lynch priced $436.9 million of taxable refunding bonds for California's Irvine Ranch Water District Joint Powers Agency.
The bonds mature from 2011 through 2014, with yields ranging from 0.90% in 2011 to 2.61% in 2014, all priced at par. The bonds were priced to yield between 40 and 100 basis points over the comparable Treasury yields.
The bonds, which are not callable, are rated triple-A by both Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's.
Morgan Stanley priced $395.3 million of water and wastewater revenue refunding bonds for Philadelphia.
The bonds mature from 2010 through 2019, with yields ranging from 1.79% with a 2.5% coupon in 2012 to 4.00% with a 5% coupon in 2019. They are not callable.
Bonds maturing in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 are insured by Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. The remaining bonds are uninsured.
The underlying credit is rated A3 by Moody's, A by Standard & Poor's, and A-minus by Fitch Ratings.
Meanwhile, the Treasury market was weaker yesterday. The benchmark 10-year note was quoted near the end of the session with a yield of 3.89% after opening at 3.85%. The yield on the two-year was quoted near the end of the session at 1.07% after opening at 1.05%. The yield on the 30-year bond was quoted near the end of the session at 4.75% after opening at 4.74%.
The Municipal Market Data triple-A scale yielded 3.14% in 10 years and 3.85% in 20 years yesterday, after Wednesday's levels of 3.16% and 3.85%. The scale yielded 4.17% in 30 years yesterday, matching Wednesday.
Wednesday's triple-A muni scale in 10 years was at 81.9% of comparable Treasuries and 30-year munis were at 87.8%, according to MMD, while 30-year tax-exempt triple-A general obligation bonds were at 92.9% of the comparable London Interbank Offered Rate.
Elsewhere in the new-issue market yesterday, Morgan Keegan & Co. priced $153.4 million of GO refunding bonds for New Hampshire.
The bonds mature in 2011, 2014, and from 2016 through 2024. Yields range from 1.70% with a 3% coupon in 2014 to 3.70% with a 5% coupon in 2024. Bonds maturing in 2011 were decided via sealed bid. The bonds, which are callable at par in 2020, are rated Aa2 by Moody's, AA by Standard & Poor's, and AA-plus by Fitch.
Barclays Capital priced $130 million of health facilities revenue bonds for the Palm Beach County, Fla., Health Facilities Authority.
The bonds mature from 2014 through 2020, with term bonds in 2025, 2030, and 2040. Yields range from 3.00% with a 5% coupon in 2014 to 5.45% with a 5.25% coupon in 2040.
The bonds, which are callable at par in 2020, are insured by Assured Guaranty Municipal. The underlying credit is rated A3 by Moody's.
Wilson County, Tenn., competitively sold $50 million of taxable GO Build America Bonds to Morgan Keegan, with a TIC of 3.43%.
The BABs mature from 2016 through 2020, with term bonds in 2024, 2025, and 2032. Coupons range from 3.65%, or 2.37% after the 35% federal subsidy, to 5.40% in 2032, or 3.51% after the subsidy. None of the bonds were formally re-offered.
The bonds, which are callable at par in 2020, are rated AA by Standard & Poor's.
Trades reported by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board yesterday showed some gains.
Bonds from an interdealer trade of Seattle 4s of 2022 yielded 3.75%, one basis point lower than where they were sold Wednesday. Bonds from an interdealer trade of North Carolina 4s of 2025 yielded 3.76%, one basis point lower than where they were sold Wednesday.
Bonds from an interdealer trade of taxable California BABs 7.95s of 2036 yielded 7.57%, down one basis point from where they were sold Wednesday. Bonds from an interdealer trade of Massachusetts 5.25s of 2022 yielded 3.59%, down one basis point from where they were sold Wednesday.
Bonds from an interdealer trade of New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority 5.5s of 2022 yielded 4.31%, down one basis point from where they traded yesterday.
In economic data released yesterday, initial jobless claims increased to a seasonally adjusted 460,000 for the week ending April 3, the first increase in three weeks, as seasonal volatility due to the Easter holiday affected claims reporting in some states, the Labor Department reported yesterday.
Continuing claims fell by 131,000 to 4.550 million, the largest weekly drop since Jan. 2, reaching the lowest level of continuing claims since December 2008.
Economists expected 434,000 initial claims and 4.650 million continuing claims, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.