Municipal bond prices were buffeted over the past week by a falling dollar and continued signs of economic strength, pushing the yields on the Bond Buyer indexes up 12 to 15 basis points.
But the tax-exempt sector managed to outperform the Treasury market. The yield on the Treasury's benchmark 30-year bond rose 22 basis points to 7.61% over the same period.
The 20-bond index of general obligation bonds rose 12 basis points, to yield 6.28% from 6.16% last week. The 11-bond index rose 13 basis points, to 6.20% from 6.07% a week ago.
The revenue bond index rose 13 basis points, to 6.56% from 6.43% last week. The index is at its highest level in more than 20 months, since Nov. 12, 1992, when it was 6.57%.
The average yield to maturity of the 40 bonds used ot calculate the daily Municipal Bond Index rose 15 basis points, to 6.47% from 6.32% last Thursday.
The municipal yield curve steepened slightly, as yields rose more in longer maturities. The one-year note index rose 10 basis points, to yield 3.75% from 3.65% a week ago. The spread between the one-year index and the 11-bond GO index rose to 245 basis points from 242 last week.
The market got off to an inauspicious start on Monday, as a rally in the taxable market failed to spark tax-exempt bonds.
Tuesday was a different story, and for most of the week Treasuries pushed the tax-exempt market lower. Early Tuesday, the dollar dropped below 100 yen and stayed there while the Commodity Research Bureau's index rose 2.63 to 230.40 at the close.
After meandering Wednesday, the market took it on the chin again yesterday.
The June Chicago Purchasing Management index came in at 65.6%, down from 67.3% in May. But beneath the surface, the news was not good for the market.
The prices-paid component rose to 69.7% from 63.6% and the employment index rose to 58.1% from 57.5% in May. A reading above 50% indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector, and a reading below 50% indicates a contraction.
In the currency arena, the dollar again set a new post-World War II low against the Japanese yen. In late trading yesterday, the dollar was quoted at 98.70 yen, down from 99.90 Tuesday.
Forward supply continued to shrink throughout the week. The Bond Buyer's 30-day visible supply fell to $2.49 billion on Thursday, a drop of $1.38 billion from a week ago. This week's measure shows upcoming primary supply at its lowest level since Sept. 16, 1993, when it was $2.16 billion. The measure of future supply has now been under $4 billion for 10 straight business days.
So far this month, the 30-day visible supply has averaged $3.65 billion compared with $4.26 billion in May and $5 billion in the January-to-May period. In the first half of 1993, the daily average for the measure of forward supply was $6.43 billion. For the full year, it was $5.96 billion.
Standard & Poor's Corp.'s The Blue List was at $2.13 billion Thursday, an increase of $21 million from last week's total. The measure of dealer inventory has exceeded $2 billion for nine consecutive days. Since June 15, The Blue List has swelled $390 million.
So far in June, The Blue List has averaged $1.87 billion compared with $1.69 billion in May and $1.74 billion in the first five months of 1994. In the first half of 1993, the daily average for the measure of dealer inventory was $1.454 billion. For the full year, it was $1.581 billion.