Massachusetts last week was unsuccessful in its last-ditch efforts to get a general obligation rating upgrade, but state officials nonetheless were pleased with the market's reception of a $363 million sale.

"It's the best offering the state has had in several years," said Joe Malone, treasurer of the commonwealth. "The reaction on Wall Street demonstrated the renewed confidence in Massachusetts bonds and the fiscal recovery of the state."

The maximum yield on last week's issue was 7.08% on the 2010 term maturity, quite a drop from December 1990's 7.80%. The bonds improved more than twice as much as the 20-bond index, which fell to 6.71% from 7.05% during the same period.

Put another way, buyers of last year's $530 million sale are sitting pretty. The sale's 2007 maturity originally sold at 97 cents on the dollar. Last week the same bonds were quoted at 107.

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