The new-issue calendar will be somewhat lackluster this week with an estimated $3.75 billion of competitive and negotiated volume expected to arrive, compared with last week when issuers priced a revised $2.79 billion ahead of the Passover and Easter holidays, according to Thomson Reuters.
A $400 million sale of capital improvement limited obligation bonds from North Carolina is the largest deal expected in the negotiated market this week amid a handful of deals from the Southeast. The deal, which is being priced on Thursday after a retail order period on Wednesday by lead manager Banc of America Securities LLC, is expected to be structured with serial bonds maturing from 2010 to 2029. The bonds are rated Aa1 Moody's Investors Service, and AA-plus by Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings.
New Jersey will enter the market with $398 million of certificates of participation in a Citi-led deal that is structured to mature from 2010 to 2030 and is rated A1 by Moody's and AA-minus by Standard & Poor's. The deal will be priced on Thursday, following a retail order period slated for Wednesday.
In a Merrill Lynch & Co.-led deal, the Florida Municipal Power Agency is planning to sell a two-pronged financing of power supply project revenue bonds totaling $170.3 million. The tax-exempt portion totals $154.1 million and will mature serially from 2012 to 2031, while $16.2 million of the deal is taxable and will mature in 2019. Merrill is expected to price the deal on Thursday following a retail order period on Wednesday, and the bonds are rated A1 by Moody's and A-plus by Fitch.
The Kentucky Turnpike Authority will sell $153.1 million of economic development road revenue bonds in a negotiated deal being priced by Goldman, Sachs & Co. on Wednesday after a retail order period planned for tomorrow. The bonds are rated Aa3 by Moody's, AA-plus by Standard & Poor's, and AA-minus by Fitch. The deal is a 20-year financing, but the exact maturity structure was not available at press time.
Meanwhile, Richmond, Va., is planning to issue $146.4 million of public utility revenue bonds in a Morgan Stanley-led negotiated deal on Wednesday. The bonds are rated Aa3 by Moody's, AA by Standard & Poor's, and AA-minus by Fitch. The structure was unavailable at press time.
Looking back at last week, the primary market was dominated by a super-sized $883 million New York City GO sale that got keen attention from retail investors.
Morgan Stanley priced the bonds into a firm market that allowed the city to substantially upsize from its initial $483 million. It contained a final 2036 term bond that carried a 5.375% coupon and 5.55% yield - 79 basis points higher than the generic triple-A GO scale at the time, according to Municipal Market Data.
The deal increased by $100 million during the retail order period on April 3, and by an additional $300 million last Tuesday morning.
"The deals on the calendar this week for the most part were well-priced and well-placed in a slightly firm market, and the city deal was a good sign for New York City," Bill Sadowski, managing director of underwriting at Loop Capital Markets LLC, said Thursday. "It was a good way to end the week and get next week off to a good start," he added, noting that the deal generated in excess of $500 million in retail orders.
Mom-and-pop investors are looking for high-quality issuers and he expects there will be good retail appetite again this week for some of the largest deals, such as North Carolina, New Jersey, and Florida.
"These are all good names and have good ratings and I think each deal will have a certain level of [retail] support which will be of benefit to the final result of the deals," Sadowski said.
"I think retail still has a fair amount of un-invested assets to target munis with," he explained. "We have seen slight signs of slowing down since the beginning of the year, but when it looks like it will slow down it revs up again."
Switching gears to the competitive market, activity this week will be fairly light, with the largest deal being a $124.7 million sale of GO bonds from the Albuquerque School District #12 slated for Wednesday. The deal is expected to be structure with serial bonds maturing from 2010 to 2022.
Competitive volume has been lackluster so far in 2009 as a result of the changing structure of the market over the last year, according to Phil Fischer, municipal strategist at Merrill.
Ahead of last Thursday's early close preceding the Passover and Good Friday observances, municipals due between 2010 and 2019 ended four basis points firmer at the close of trading on Wednesday, while long municipals due between 2025 and 2039 ended one basis point firmer in the midst of strong retail buying activity.