The Bond Buyer's municipal bond indexes, feeling the squeeze from a lack of buyers and expectations for strong economic growth, posted moderately higher yields this week.
The indexes now have risen in seven of the past eight weeks and have reached their highest levels in at least two and a half years.
The 20-bond index of general obligation yields jumped 15 basis points, to 6.64% from 6.49% last Thursday, while the 11-bond GO index climbed 14 basis points, to 6.54% from 6.40% a week ago. The GO indexes are now at their highest levels since April 30, 1992, when the 20-bond was 6.69% and the 11-bond was 6.58%.
The 30-year revenue bond index rose 14 basis points, to 6.95% yester6.81% a week ago. It has not been higher since Dec. 5, 1991, when it was 6.96%.
The average yield to maturity of the 40 bonds
ed in calculating the daily Municipal Bond Index -- most of them revenue bonds -- gained 15 basis points, to 6.84% yesterday from 6.69% last Thursday. This was the highest yield to maturity for the index since Dec. 12, 1991, when it was 6.84%.
Municipal bond prices sank slowly but steadily throughout the week, pressured primarily by a constant flow of supply that found few takers. A few large issues were placed in the primary market with fair to good results, but the secondary market remained burdened with $300 million to $500 million in bids-wanted lists. In addition, dealers are laden with inventory; Standard & Poor's Corp.'s the Blue List rose from $2.02 billion a week ago to as much as $.2.2 billion Wednesday before shrinking slightly to $2.17 billion yesterday.
Tax-exempts also felt the pinch of a soft U.S. Treasury securities market, where aftershocks from last Thursday's freefall, induced by a strong housing starts report, and fears of today's release of gross domestic product combined to keep debt prices sliding. The yield on the bellwether 30-year Treasury bond rose five basis points on the week, to 8.04% yesterday from 7.99% last Thursday.
In the short end, The Bond Buyer's one-year note index was unchanged this week, holding at 4.13%.