The tax-exempt market was mostly flat Wednesday, though buyers on the long end of the curve pushed credits higher as the top three deals of the week priced. Secondary trading activity was heavy in the morning.
“The market might be flat to slightly stronger on the long end,” a trader in New York said. “There was moderate activity, firm new-issue pricing, and essentially that’s it.”
Late in the day, the market was focused on Europe. “Towards the end, the stock market got walloped and that could have an effect on what’s happening here,” the trader said.
“We are ending on highs of the day,” a second trader in New York said. “The buyers will be out [Thursday] morning in munis.”
Longer-dated credits were trading a few basis points higher. “Buyers are coming in on the long end, starting to clean some issues out,” he said. Safe-haven buying is a contributing factor, he said.
A New Jersey trader said munis are focused on the “huge calendar we need to wade through.”
Yields were flat across the curve, according to the Municipal Market Data scale, putting the 10-year and 30-year at 2.33% and 3.81%, respectively. The two-year closed flat for its 11th consecutive trading day at 0.42%.
Treasuries saw a late rally that pushed yields lower. Yields were down about four and five basis points on the long end.
The benchmark 10-year yield was down four basis points to 2.01%. The 30-year yield was down five basis points to 3.04%. The two-year yield closed up one basis point to 0.26%.
In the primary market, Morgan Stanley priced $1.3 billion of New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority system bonds.
The credit is rated A1 by Moody’s Investors Service and A-plus by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.
Yields ranged from 0.79% with a 4% coupon in 2013 to 5.05% with a 5% coupon in 2042. The bonds are callable at par in 2021.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch held a second day of retail pricing on $1.27 billion of Hawaii general obligation bonds in five series.
The credit is rated Aa2 by Moody’s and AA by S&P and Fitch.
Yields on the first series, $800 million of new-money bonds, ranged from 1.56% with a 5% coupon in 2016 to 4.07% with a 4% coupon in 2031. Portions of bonds maturing in 2016, 2017, and between 2023 and 2031 were not offered for retail.
The bonds are callable at par in 2021. Yields were selectively raised between two and 13 basis points from Tuesday’s first retail order period.
Yields on the second series, $383.4 million of refunding bonds, ranged from 1.563% with 2% and 4% coupons in a 2016 split maturity to 3.13% with 3% and 5% coupons in a 2023 split maturity. The bonds are callable at par in 2021. Yields were selectively raised between four and 13 basis points from Tuesday’s first retail offering.
Bonds in the third series, $2.8 million of refunding debt, yielded 0.25% with a 2% coupon in 2012.
Credits on the fourth series, $56 million of refunding bonds, yielded 0.62% with 2%, 4% and 5% coupons in a 2013 split maturity. Those yields were increased 10 basis points from Tuesday’s retail order period.
Bonds in the fifth series, $23 million of refunding bonds, yielded 1.24% with 2%, 3% and 5% coupons in a 2015 split maturity.
Yields were pushed up nine basis points from Tuesday’s first retail pricing.
“Munis remained mixed and mostly steady as the market continues with the process of pricing and distributing large negotiated deals,” wrote MMD analyst Randy Smolik.
The New Jersey TTFA deal was priced higher, but the Hawaii general obligation issue cheapened in its second day of retail.
“This was an unusually large Hawaii loan, and with maturities topping $60 million in the intermediate range, underwriters had to find spreads that trigger a swelling of demand that can hopefully allow bumps,” he said.
Barclays Capital priced for retail $787.6 million of Minnesota Tobacco Securitization Authority settlement revenue bonds. The bonds are rated A by Standard & Poor’s and BBB-plus by Fitch.
Debt on the first series, $81.1 million of taxable bonds, matures in 2014 and 2015 and is priced to yield 237.5 and 287.5 basis points over the comparable Treasury yield.
Yields on the second series, $706.5 million of tax-exempt bonds, ranged from 2.26% with a 3% coupon in 2016 to 5.375% priced at par in 2031. Portions of credits maturing between 2016 and 2031 were not offered for retail. The bonds are callable at par in 2022. On this series, debt maturing between 2023 and 2031 was rated one notch lower at A-minus by Standard & Poor’s.
In the competitive market, Wells Fargo Securities won the bid for $171 million of Maryland Economic Development Corp. lease revenue bonds. The credits are rated Aa1 by Moody’s and AA-plus by S&P. Yields ranged from 0.8% with a 5% coupon in 2014 to 4.19% with a 4% coupon in 2031.