Whether an early sell-off triggered by the Bundesbank' discount rate increase slowed corporate issuance yesterday sparked debate yesterday.
"It was just a slow Thursday," one syndicate desk official said, adding that the market had rebounded since the sell-off yesterday morning and that some deals could appear today if those levels hold. The Bundesbank yesterday raised its discount rate to 8.75% from 8%.
But a syndicate desk official said, "Nobody that was going to come didn't come because of the Bundesbank."
"It's one of those things that could have hurt, but there are so many other possibilities it's hard to sort them out," another market observer said.
Other sources, however, believe the increase and the resulting rise in bond yields may have slowed issuance.
One economist said issuers "were wise to postpone issuing early in the day due to the nature of the intra-day run-up by bond yields."
Yesterday's new issues totaled about $891 million compared to the more than $3 billion of new corporate debt IDD information Services totaled for Wednesday. A corporate trader noted, however, that Wednesday's high-dollar volume represented comparatively few deals.
Treasury bond prices, which relate inversely to yields, fell sharply early yesterday after the Bundesbank rate increase. The drop in state unemployment claims for the holiday-shortened week of July 4 also pushed prices down, traders said.
But Treasuries retracted their losses yesterday after a rally set off by the withdrawal of Ross Perot from the presidentail race. Corporate bond prices tracked Treasuries, traders said.
As for new issues, one syndicate desk official predicted a brisk pace over the next few weeks.
"Everybody's trying to get in ahead of the quarterly refunding," he said.
In secondary trading, high-grade bond prices finished about 1/8 point higher, while better quality high-yield bond prices finished up 1/2 point, traders said.
Pacific Bell issued $325 million of 7% notes due 2004. The noncallable notes were priced at 97.645 to yield 7.298% or 38 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Salomon Brothers won competitive bidding to underwrite the offering. Moody's Investors Service rates the notes Aa3, and Standard & Poor's Corp. rates them AA-minus.
Federal Home Loan Banks issued $200 million of 4.94% floating rate notes due 1997 at par. The notes float monthly at 35 basis points under the cost of funds index and pay quarterly. Lehman Brothers sole managed the offering.
Niagara Mohawk issued $165 million of 8.50% first mortgage bonds due 2023. Noncallable for 10 years, the bonds were priced at 99.288 to yield 8.565% or 90 basis points over comparable Treasuries, Moody's rates the offering Baa2, while Standard & Poor's rates it BBB. Goldman, Sachs & Co. lead managed the offering.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. issued $100 million of 7.50% debentures due 2007 at par. Noncallable for five years, the bonds were priced to yield 60 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Lehman Brothers sole managed the offering.
Wisconsin Electric Power issued $51 million of 6.625% first mortgage bonds due 1999. The noncallable bonds were priced at 99.279 to yield 6.756% or 35 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Salomon Brothers lead managed the offering. Moody's rates the offering Aa2, while Standard & Poor's rates it AA-plus.
Student Loan Marketing Association issued $50 million of floating rate notes due 1997. Noncallable for a year, the notes were priced at par and float quarterly at 203 basis points below the prime rate. The cap is 6.4% in the second year, moves to 7.47% in the third year, 8.22% in the fourth year, and 9.22% in the fifth year. Citibank sole managed the offering.
Standard & Poor's has downgraded its senior debt ratings on six GPA Group Ltd. units to BBB from A-minus and has removed them from Credit Watch where they were placed for a possible downgrade on June 18. The units are GPA Delaware Inc., GPA Holland B.V., GPA Investments B.V., GPA Leasing USA I Inc., GPA Leasing USA Sub I Inc., and GPA Netherlands B.V. Standard & Poor's also affirms its A-2 commercial paper rating on its parent, GPA Group, which was not listed on Credit Watch.
"The downgrades are based on reduced financial flexibility following cancellation of a planned initial public offering of stock, large upcoming commitments for debt repayment and aircraft deliveries, possible return of aircraft by several significant lease customers, and weaker lease rates and used aircraft prices in a depressed airline industry environment." a Standard & Poor's release says.
"However, GPA's credit quality continues to benefit from a broad customer base diversification, concentration on new technology aircraft acquired at favorable prices. and proven ability to repossess and re-lease aircraft from defaulting airlines," the release adds.