Issuers saw a window of opportunity and shoved about $1.7 billion of new high-grade corporate debt through it yesterday.

"Issuers are taking advantage of a window of opportunity because of tighter spreads and pent-up demand by the investing public," a source at one syndicate desk said. "There's a lot of money to be put to work."

An drought early in the month, tight spreads, and a perception among some treasurers that interest rates will not go much lower probably contributed to the heavy issuance yesterday, said one source who tracks new issues.

While the vast majority of new debt appearing yesterday was investment grade, Southwest Gas Corp.'s $100 million offering had a split rating. That deal was counted in the $1.7 billion total. Not counted was a $400 million high-yield offering by Continental Cablevision Inc., which was priced Monday, according to a Morgan Stanley & Co. spokeswoman. Morgan Stanley lead managed the offering.

That deal's first tranche consisted of $100 million of senior subordinated notes due 2002 at par. The bonds are callable after five years at 105.313. Part two consisted of $300 million of 11% senior subordinated debentures due 2007 at par. They are callable after five years at 105.5. Moody's Investors Service rates the offering B1, while Standard & Poor's Corp. rates it B-plus.

One high-yield buyside source described pricing on Continental's as "okay." He added that in the high-yield market overall, plenty of deals remain on the launch pad, but they all look alike.

Edward Mally, director of high-yield research at Salomon Brothers, estimated the dollar volume of high-yield offerings currently in registration at "north of $5.5 billion."

With all eyes trained on new issues, "it really makes for a lull in the secondary (market)," he said.

The high-yield secondary market finished unchanged again yesterday, with 13-1/4% Petrolane's senior subordinated debentures due 2001 enduring a four to five point roller coaster ride. The bonds traded as low as 38-1/2 and as high as 44, one trader said. They finished in the 40 to 41 range, about where they started, he said.

High-grade bond prices finished 3/8 point better in the 10-year area, with the long end up about 1/4 point and the short end up about 1/8 point. Those gains came despite an 11% rise in May housing starts, traders said.

Yesterday's Issues

Toyota Motor Credit issued $300 million of 5.750% notes due 1995. The noncallable notes were priced to yield 5.831% or 30 basis points over 30-year Treasuries. Moody's and Standard & Poor's rate the offering triple-A. Merrill Lynch & Co. lead managed the offering.

Banque Paribas-NY issued $250 million of 8.35% subordinated notes due 2007 at par. The notes were priced to yield 109 basis points over 10-year Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Aa3, while Standard & Poor's rates it A-plus. Merrill Lynch & Co. managed the offering.

Texas Utility Electric issued a two-part first mortgage collateralized trust bond offering totaling $297 million. Part one consisted of $150 million of 7.125% bonds due 1997. The bonds were priced at 99.685 to yield 7.20% or 75 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Part two consisted of $147 million of 8% bonds due 2002. The bonds were priced at 99.316 to yield 8.10% or 85 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Baa2, while Standard & Poor's rates it BBB. Salomon Brothers lead managed the offering.

Morgan Stanley Group Inc. issued $250 million of 8.10% notes at par. The noncallable notes were priced to yield 85 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the notes A1, while Standard & Poor's rates them A-plus.

Duke Power issued $100 million of 7% first and refunding mortgage bonds due 2000. The noncallable bonds were priced at 98.203 to yield 7.301% or 30 basis points over seven to 10-year Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Aa2, while Standard & Poor's rates it AA-minus. Goldman, Sachs & Co. won competitive bidding to lead manage the offering.

Georgia Power issued $100 million of 8.625% first mortgage bonds due 2022. Nonrefundable for five years, the bonds were priced at 99.405 to yield 8.68% or 85 basis points over 30-year Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering A3, while Standard & Poor's rates it A-minus. A group led by Morgan Stanley won competitive bidding to lead manage the offering.

First Chicago Corp. issued $100 million of 8.250% subordinated notes due 2002. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.669 to yield 8.30% or 104 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Baa2, while Standard & Poor's rates it A-minus. Salomon Brothers lead managed the offering.

Primerica Holdings issued $100 million of 7.75% notes due 1999 at par. The noncallable notes were priced to yield 88 basis points over seven-year Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Baa1, while Standard & Poor's rates it A-minus. Lehman Brothers lead managed the offering.

Chemical Banking Corp. issued $100 million of 8.125% subordinated notes due 2002. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.295 to yield 8.229% or 97 basis points over 10-year Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Baa2, while Standard & Poor's rates it BBB-plus. Goldman, Sachs lead managed the offering.

Southwest Gas Corp. issued $100 million of 9.75% debentures due 2002 at par. The noncallable debentures were priced to yield 250 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Ba2, while Standard & Poor's rates it BBB-minus. Salomon Brothers managed the offering.

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