The tax-exempt market ended Monday on a quiet note following a busy morning.
After traders hurried to digest the news of the elections in France and Greece, activity dissipated and markets calmed.
Yet despite slower activity, munis were stronger, according to the Municipal Market Data scale and the 30-year muni yield set a new record low as recorded by MMD.
Yields inside five years were steady while yields outside six years fell one and two basis points.
On Monday, the two-year yield closed flat at 0.31% for the 14th consecutive trading session. The 10-year yield and the 30-year yield each fell two basis points to 1.80% and 3.13%.
The 10-year hasn’t hit a low of 1.80% since Feb. 6 when it yielded 1.79%. The 30-year beat its previous record low of 3.14% last hit on Feb. 2 and originally set Jan. 31.
Muni traders said activity was slow in afternoon markets.
“It’s very quiet today,” a New York trader said. “Early this morning when you first walked in the door there were a couple things going on, but it has tapered off and it’s getting quiet this afternoon.”
He added most of the primary issuance is coming Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and so there was not much to move the market Monday. “You can maybe call it up one basis point or two depending on where you are on the curve but it’s very slow today.”
The morning was busier than a typical start to the week. “It’s a bit busier for a Monday,” a second New York trader said. “But it’s kind of sideways.”
Treasuries pared gains after the initial reaction to the Greek and French elections and closed steady from Friday’s level. The benchmark 10-year yield and the 30-year yield were flat at 1.88% and 3.07%. The two-year was steady at 0.27%.
There were no major primary deals priced in the market Monday but $6.06 billion is expected to be priced later this week, including $4.18 billion expected in the negotiated market and $1.88 billion expected in competitive deals.
In the secondary market, yields fell between one and three basis points in a sample of CUSIP numbers compiled by data provider Markit.
Yields on California 5s of 2026 fell 3 basis points to 3.08% while Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority 5s of 2018 fell one basis point to 1.80%.
Yields on Orange County, Fla., Health Facilities Authority 5s of 2042 and San Antonio Airport System 5s of 2023 each fell two basis points to 4.34% and 3.16%, respectively.
Elsewhere in the secondary market, most trades reported by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board showed firming.
A dealer sold to a customer Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport 5s of 2045 at 3.90%, 11 basis points lower than where they traded last Tuesday. A dealer bought from a customer Ohio’s University Hospitals Health System 5s of 2041 at 4.28%, two basis points lower than where they traded Friday.
Bonds from an interdealer trade of Illinois 4s of 2030 yielded 4.11%, two basis points lower than where they traded Friday.
Bonds from another interdealer trade of New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority 4s of 2034 yielded 4.03%, one basis point lower than where they traded Friday.
So far in May, muni-to-Treasury ratios have risen as municipals underperformed Treasuries and became relatively cheaper. The five-year muni yield to Treasury yield rose to 102.6% from 97.6% on May 1 while the 10-year ratio rose to 97.3% from 95.9%.
Since the start of the year, ratios on the short end have not moved much. The five-year ratio started the year at 98.9% while the 10-year ratio began the year at 96.4%.
Activity on the long end is much more noticeable. While the 30-year ratio has been flat for most of May — falling only slightly to 102.6% from 102.8% at the start of the month — it has dropped significantly from 119.4% at the beginning of the year.
The slope of the yield curve continues to flatten, dropping to 295 basis points after falling below 300 basis points last week for the first time since Feb. 2.
The slope of the curve started May at 305 basis points and started the year at 332 basis points.
The 10- to 30-year slope of the curve also continues to flatten to 133 basis points from 138 at the beginning of May. It has flattened from 169 basis points at the start of the year.
Spreads between the triple-A and single-A muni bonds have tightened across the curve.
The two-year and five-year spreads have stayed at 39 basis points and 62 basis points, respectively, for the month of May, but have compressed from 56 and 82 basis points since the beginning of the year.
The 10-year triple-A to single-A spread has fallen to 79 basis points from 81 basis points at the beginning of the month. It has compressed 17 basis points from the beginning of the year.
Similarly, the 30-year spread tightened to 72 basis points from 75 at the beginning of May. It has also fallen 17 basis points from where it started the year.