Northern Trust Corp., which rarely raises capital in the bond market, is expected to issue $200 million in subordinated debt today.
Sources said Thursday that the deal's pricing is investor-friendly, with a spread of 130 basis points to 135 basis points over comparable Treasuries.
Northern Trust executives were not available to comment, the Chicago banking company said. But market experts said that Northern Trust, like many other financial institutions, is rushing to issue bonds as fears of rising interest rates mount.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. is the lead underwriter on the Northern Trust deal.
Financial institutions are also issuing debt now because they fear the market may become more difficult in the fourth quarter. "Nobody really knows exactly what year-2000 will do, but there's a sense that market conditions at the end of the year could become more volatile," said Thomas Flynn, a bank bond analyst at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.
Some of biggest issuers in the bank and brokerage sector include Bear, Stearns & Co., which issued $500 million in three-year global notes and $750 million in two-year notes Thursday. The spread for the $500 million issue is 105 basis points over comparable Treasuries. The pricing of the second issue was unavailable.
In addition, Wells Fargo & Co. issued $1.5 billion in five-year global notes Wednesday. The pricing reportedly was 111 basis points over Treasuries.
"We are in a buyer's market," Mr. Flynn said. "Investors are probably much happier than the issuers."
Indeed, many issuers have had to sweeten their deals for investors because of a flood of corporate paper. Such imbalances in supply and demand often make it difficult to sell a deal.
"Most deals have gone O.K.," Mr. Flynn said. "They have been priced to meet the markets' concerns about too much supply."