About $3 billion of fresh debt arrived yesterday after Tuesday's $3.15 billion as issuers appeared to bet that the days of ever lower interest rates are ending.

"It's not just how many people are here, it's who's here," said Mike Bassett, a vice president at Stone & McCarthy Research Associates.

Issuers have apparently decided that the likelihood of rates going lower anytime soon "is sufficiently low." Bassett said.

"What's going to make them move faster is a key number coming up," he added, citing the May producer price index and retail sales data coming tomorrow and the consumer price index arriving June 15.

Companies like IBM Corp.. several Wall Street firms, and Dayton Hudson are among those whose antennae have been traditionally tuned to possible interest rate shifts and who appear to have made "a rate call" in the past few days.

With the arrival of Dayton Hudson's deal on Tuesday, Bassett said it would not surprise him to see other big retailers such as K Mart Corp. and J.C. Penney Co. follow.

"The big retailers tend to do their long bonds at what appear to be turning points," Bassett said.

In addition, some other names such as Sara Lee Corp. and Boeing Co., which have been rumored to be coming to market for a while, may decide to issue now.

In the high-yield market, CompUSA Inc's $110 million seven-year offering was priced at 91/2% yesterday, and Trump Plaza Funding Inc.'s deal is expected this week, according to Fred Cavanaugh, a vice president with John Hancock's Strategic Income Fund.

Price talk on Trump's deal is 111/4% to 111/2%, he said.

Cavanaugh described both deals as "a tad rich," but said that would not keep him from buying the bonds because they were fairly priced in context of the overall market.

"The whole market is rich," he said, adding that "there's a lot of cash out there."

Money continues to pour into high-yield mutual funds, and cross-over buyers from investment-grade ranks continue to scour the junk market for yield, Cavanaugh said. Those trends have continued for the past 12 to 18 months, he added.

In the secondary market yesterday, high-yield bonds were mostly unchanged, though one trader noted a sharp drop in Northwest Airlines Inc.'s 85/8 debt. Quantum Chemical bonds were firmer, the trader said. Spreads on high-grade bonds were firm.

New Issues

Student Loan Marketing Association issued $1 billion of floating-rate notes due July 1. 1996. The notes were priced to yield 20 basis points over the Treasury's year bill. The coupon will be reset annually on the year bill auction in May. If the yield is greater than 8.75%, the coupon will be reset weekly off the 91-day Treasury bills plus 20 basis points. The notes pay semi-annually. Merrill Lynch & Co. was the lead manager for the offering.

WMX Technologies issued $300 million of 4.875% notes due 1996. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.628 to yield 5.01%, or 35 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's Investors Service rates the offering A1, while Standard & Poor's Corp. rates it AA. Kidder, Peabody & Co. was the lead manager.

Dresser Industries issued $300 million of 6.25% notes due 2000 at par. The notes were priced to yield 55 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering A1, while Standard & Poor's rates it A-minus. Merrill Lynch was the lead manager.

The Bear Stearns Companies Inc. issued $200 million of 6.5% notes due 2000. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.928 to yield 6.513%, or 80 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering A2, while Standard & Poor's rates it A. Bear, Stearns & Co. was the lead manager.

Society National Bank issued $200 million of 6.75% subordinated notes due 2003. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.378 to yield 6.837%, or 77 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering A3, while Standard & Poor's rates it A-minus. J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. was the lead manager.

Federal National Mortgage Association issued $200 million of 4.875% step-up medium-term notes due 1998 at par. The notes were priced to yield 60 basis points over two-year Treasuries. They are noncallable for two years, after which the coupon steps up to 6.10%. Merrill Lynch managed the offering.

Shearson Lehman Holdings issued 175 million of 5.50% notes due 1996. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.751 to yield 5.591%, or 95 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering A3, while Standard & Poor's rates it A. Lehman Brothers was the lead manager.

Morgan Stanley Group issued $150 million of 5.65% notes due 1997. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.965 to yield 5.66%, or 60 basis points over four-year Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering A1, while Standard & Poor's rates it A-plus. Morgan Stanley & Co. was the lead manager.

Southern California Gas issued $125 million of 7.5% first mortgage bonds due 2023. Noncallable for 10 years, the bonds were priced at 98.80, to yield 7.602%, or 70 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering A2, while Standard & Poor's rates it A-plus. A group led by Morgan Stanley won competitive bidding to underwrite the offering.

Private Export Funding Corp. issued $100 million of 5.65% amortizing secured notes due 2003. The noncallable notes, which have a five-year average life, were priced at 99.968 to yield 33 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's and Standard & Poor's rate the offering triple-A. J.P. Morgan managed the offering.

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. issued $100 million of 4.875% step-up medium-term notes due 1998 at par. The notes were priced to yield 60 basis points over two-year Treasuries.

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