Although the average gross underwriting spread earned on long-term tax-exempt bond deals retained its penurious character during the first nine months of 1991, municipal bond dealers said money can still be made in the business.

The average gross underwriting spread was $10.56 per $1,000 par value, down from $10.77 per bond notched at the halfway point of this year, but slightly higher than the $10.49 garned per bond during the first quarter, according to Securities Data Co./Bond Buyer.

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