Munis mixed as market gets set for a very quiet primary week

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Top-quality municipal bonds finished mixed on Wednesday, according to traders, who returned to work after the Fourth of July holiday to see a $130.4 million new issue calendar, the smallest of the year.

Secondary market
The yield on the 10-year benchmark muni general obligation rose one basis point to 2.02% from 2.01% on Monday, while the 30-year GO yield was unchanged from 2.80%, according to the final read of Municipal Market Data's triple-A scale.

Treasuries were little changed on Wednesday. The yield on the two-year Treasury was flat from 1.41% on Monday, the 10-year Treasury yield dipped to 2.33% from 2.34% and the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond decreased to 2.85% from 2.86%.

The 10-year muni to Treasury ratio was calculated at 86.6% on Wednesday, compared with 85.8% on Monday, while the 30-year muni to Treasury ratio stood at 98.1% versus 97.8%, according to MMD.

MSRB: Previous session's activity
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board reported 34,518 trades on Friday on volume of $8.07 billion.

Volatile ride for muni yields
Since the election of 2016, municipal bonds have been on a roller coaster ride.

On Oct. 21, 2016, just days before the nation elected Donald Trump as president, Municipal Market Data calculated the yield on the 10-year triple-A muni at 1.73%.
By Nov. 30, 2016, the 10-year muni yield had risen to 2.52%, but had backed off to 2.31% by Dec. 30, and remained in that general range until it slipped to 2.14% on April 28, 2017.

The 10-year yield dropped to 1.90% on May 31 and remained just under 2%, at 1.99%, on June 30.

Political turbulence in the aftermath of the election as well as geopolitical events such as elections in Europe and technicals like the surging stock market combined with three interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve to buffet the Treasury market, taking munis along for the ride.

Primary market
The week’s bond calendar consists of $46.5 million of negotiated deals and $83.9 million of competitive sales.

In the negotiated sector, Citigroup is set to price the biggest deal of the week on Thursday — Denton, Texas’ $77 million of Series 2017 permanent improvement refunding bonds.

The deal is rated triple-A by Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings.

In the competitive arena on Thursday, Stamford, Conn., is selling $30 million of general obligation bonds in two separate sales.

The offerings consist of $25 million of Issue of 2017 Series A GOs and $5 million of Issue of 2017 Series B GOs.

The deals are rated AAA by S&P and Fitch Ratings.

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Primary bond market Secondary bond market City of Denton, TX City of Stamford, CT