The municipal market was slightly weaker Thursday amid light to moderate secondary trading activity, as New Jersey came to market with $604.3 million of general obligation debt.
“We’ve had some trouble dealing with the supply that’s been hitting the primary since last week,” a trader in New York said. “A lot of the larger deals you’ve seen come through have had to be adjusted cheaper, particularly yesterday’s Ohio deal and the New Jersey deal today. There’s been some decent activity out in the Street, but it’s been a primary-centric week.”
Leading the new-issue market Thursday, Morgan Stanley priced $604.3 million of GO bonds for New Jersey in two series. Yields were raised five to 12 basis points from Wednesday’s retail pricing.
Bonds from the $521.7 million Series Q mature from 2013 through 2021, with yields ranging from 1.02% with a 2% coupon in 2013 to 3.04% with a 5% coupon in 2021. The bonds are callable at par in 2020.
Bonds from the $82.6 million Series S mature in 2013 and 2016, yielding 0.97% and 1.90%, respectively, both with 5% coupons. The bonds are not callable.
The credit is rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.
The Municipal Market Data triple-A scale yielded 2.38% in 10 years Thursday, up four basis points from Wednesday’s 2.34%, while the 20-year scale edged up one basis point to 3.29% from Wednesday’s 3.28%. The scale for 30-year debt yielded 3.70%, one basis point higher than Wednesday’s 3.69%.
“It definitely feels weaker,” a trader in San Francisco said. “I think you can safely say that we’re off a good two basis points, maybe three in spots. We’ve just been seeing yields slowly tick higher every day, and I’m not sure that’s really going to change any time soon.”
The 20-year scale reached a record low of 3.27% Tuesday before weakening Wednesday and Thursday. Yields on the 10-year and 30-year triple-A scale bottomed out at 2.17% and 3.67%, respectively, on Aug. 25.
Thursday’s triple-A muni scale in 10 years was at 94.8% of comparable Treasuries and 30-year munis were at 100.3%, according to MMD, while 30-year tax-exempt triple-A general obligation bonds were at 110.8% of the comparable London Interbank Offered Rate.
The Treasury market showed some losses Thursday. The benchmark 10-year note finished at 2.52% after opening at 2.50%.
The 30-year bond finished at 3.69% after opening at 3.68%. The two-year note finished at 0.44% after opening at 0.43%.
Elsewhere in the new-issue market, Goldman, Sachs & Co. priced $95.7 million of hospital revenue refunding bonds Thursday for the Roanoke, Va., Economic Development Authority.
The bonds mature in 2025 and 2033, yielding 4.48% and 4.78% respectively, both with 5% coupons. The bonds are callable at par in 2020.
The credit is rated A1 by Moody’s and A-plus by Standard & Poor’s.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch priced $83.5 million of airport revenue bonds for Milwaukee in two series.
Bonds from the $51.6 million series, which are subject to the alternative minimum tax, mature from 2011 through 2023, with yields ranging from 1.90% with a 5% coupon in 2012 to 4.42% with a 5% coupon in 2023. Bonds maturing in 2011 were decided via sealed bid. The bonds are callable at par in 2019.
Bonds from the $31.8 million series, which are not subject to the AMT, mature from 2015 through 2029, with a term bond in 2034.
Yields range from 2.14% with a 3% coupon in 2015 to 4.58% with a 5% coupon in 2034. The bonds are callable at par in 2019.
The credit is rated A1 by Moody’s and an equivalent A-plus by Fitch.
In economic data released Thursday, U.S. economic growth in the second quarter was revised upward to a seasonally adjusted 1.7% annual rate from the previous 1.6% estimate, due to stronger inventory and consumer spending, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
Core personal consumption expenditures, the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation, was revised lower to a 1.0% growth pace from the 1.1% rate reported last month. It was the smallest core PCE increase since the first quarter of 2009.
Economists estimated gross domestic product would increase 1.6% in the quarter and core PCE would expand 1.1%, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters. The Commerce Department’s first estimate for third-quarter GDP will be released Oct. 29.
Initial jobless claims fell 16,000 to 453,000 filings the week ending Sept. 25 from 469,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Continuing claims fell 83,000 to 4.457 million in the week ending Sept. 18.
Economists had expected 460,000 initial claims and 4.480 million continuing claims, according to Thomson Reuters.
The Chicago Purchasing Managers’ Business Barometer rose to 60.4 in September from 56.7 in August, the National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago said Thursday.
The data is compiled on a seasonally adjusted basis. An index reading below 50 signals a slowing economy, while a level above 50 suggests expansion.
Economists polled by Thomson
Reuters predicted a 55.9 reading for the indicator.