Prices were unchanged yesterday, but the tone was bullish as demand for municipals continued undaunted.
Market activity was sporadic ahead of the holiday break, but traders reported some selling to permanent investors.
Reflecting easing secondary inventory, The Blue List of dealer holdings fell $80.7 million, to $1.85 billion yesterday.
In the debt futures market, prices gyrated throughout the session, but the March municipal contract settled down 2/32 to 97.02.
Several economic indicators were released, but the municipal market largely ignored them.
New orders for durable goods plunged 1.9% in November, to $122.9 billion, primarily caused by a large decrease in the transportation sector. Personal income rose 0.2% and personal consumption rose 0.5%.
New-issue activity was practically non-existent, market players said. But in follow-through business, Merrill Lynch & Co., senior manager for $72 million Mississippi state general obligation improvement bonds, reported an unsold balance of about $4.7 million.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. reported an unsold balance of approximately $2.65 million from $66 million Alabama Housing Finance Authority single-family mortgage revenue bonds.
Looking ahead to supply, The Bond Buyer calculated 30-day visible supply at $2.89 billion.
The new-issue calendars are light next week. The negotiated sector currently features $150 million Wisconsin general obligation refunding bonds, to be priced by Morgan Stanley & Co.
The competitive sector carries several larger issues. An issue of $200 million Los Angeles Department of Water and Power revenue bonds are scheduled to be sold Jan. 5; $100 million Virginia GO bonds will be sold Jan. 6; and $210 million of San Jose Finance Authority revenue bonds ate slated for sale on Jan. 12.
In the short-term sector, $375 million Pennsylvania tax anticipation notes will be sold on Jan. 6.
Action was concentrated in the secondary yesterday, and market players said most of the activity centered around New Jersey general obligation bonds, especially following the state's sale of $1.8 billion of refunding bonds last week, the largest municipal bond offering of the year and the second largest in municipal market history.
In secondary dollar bond trading, prices were mixed on the day.
New York State Dormitory Authority 6s of 2022 were quoted at 93 3/8-3/4 to yield 6.50%; New Jersey 6s of 2011 were quoted at 99 5/8-7/8 to yield 6.03%; and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority 6 1.8s of 2021 were quoted at 99 1/8-3/8 to yield 6.19%.
Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority 6 1/2s of 2027 were quoted at 99 1/2-3/4 to yield 6.53%; Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority 6.20s of 2016 were quoted at 99 1/4-1/2 to yield 6.26%; and Georgia MEAG FGIC 6 1/8s of 2014 were quoted at 99-1/4 to yield 6.21%.
North Carolina Catawba FSA 6.20s of 2018 were quoted at 98 7/8-99 1/4 to yield 6.28%.
In short-term note trading, yields were mixed on the day.
In late afternoon trading, notes of Los Angeles, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas were quoted at 2.15% bid, 2.10% offered. Wisconsin notes were quoted at 2.17% bid, 2.12% offered, and California paper was quoted at 2.25% bid, 2.15% offered.