Municipal prices closed at mixed levels yesterday as market players, already sated from record supply, chewed on another $1 billion helping of new deals.
In negotiated action, J.P. Morgan Securities tentatively priced $359 million University of California Regents refunding revenue bonds.
The offering included serial maturities tentatively priced to yield from 4.20% in 1992 to 6.35% in 2002 and a 2016 term bond, containing $265 million of the loan, which was not reoffered to investors.
The bonds are rated A by both Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's Corp.
An issue of $216 million New York State Dormitory Authority state university educational facilities revenue bonds was tentatively priced by a Goldman, Sachs & Co. group.
Serial bonds were tentatively priced to yield from 5.10% in 1993 to 7.20% in 2004. A 2007 term was priced to yield 7.28%, a 2018 term, containing $108 million of the loan, was priced to yield 7.375%, and a 2021 term was priced at a discount to yield 7.333%.
The bonds are rated A by Moody's and A-minus by Standard & Poor's.
Merrill Lynch & Co. tentatively priced $202 million Fort Worth, Tex., Tarrant and Denton Counties, water and sewer system revenue refunding bonds.
The offering included $51 million series A bonds with yields tentatively scaled from 4.50% in 1993 to 6.50% in 2007. A 2012 term was priced to yield 6.80%. There also is $151 million series B serial bonds priced to yield from 4.50% in 1993 to 6.65% in 2007.
The issue is rated double-A by both Moody's and Standard & Poor's.
Competitive new issuance was dominated by $227 million Chicago School Finance Authority unlimited tax GO school assistance refunding bonds, won by a Prudential Securities group with a true interest cost of 6.6436%.
A Prudential officer estimated on unsold balance of $33 million near the end of the session.
Serial bonds were reoffered to investors at yields ranging from 4% in 1992 to 6.75% in 2007; a 2009 term maturity was priced as 6 5/8s to yield 6.80%.
The bonds are insured by the Financial Guaranty Insurance Co. and carry a triple-A rating from Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Investors Service.
Secondary action was relatively light, with traders reporting some business to permanent investors and only a few bid lists.
The market was firm in the morning after week employment data, but the heavy supply has skewed secondary levels and trading is choppy.
"There has been some going-away business," one trader said. "But at distressed levels. It's going to be interesting to see if the dealers re-adjust their inventories to match those new levels."
Standard & Poor's Blue List of municipal bonds in dealer inventory rose $14 million yesterday to $1.71 billion.
"People are backing and filling and there are still a lot of bonds around," said the head of a New York trading desk. "Customers are selective and we're leaving the field slightly bloody, but unbowed."
Initial state unemployment insurance claims rose 57,000 to a seasonally adjusted 471,000 in the week ended Nov. 23.
The higher jobless claims data left the secondary cash market unchanged as traders waited for a more definitive reading on the economy from today's November employment data. The employment report will show a 40,000 decline in November non-farm payrolls, according to 17 economists surveyed by The Bond Buyer.
In the debt futures market, the March contract settled down 7/32 to 93.26.
In secondary dollar bond trading, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority 6 1/2s of 2019 were quoted at 95 3/4-96 1/4 to yield 6.80%, while Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 6 1/2s of 2021 were quoted at 95 3/4-96 1/4 to yield 6.80%. Florida Board of Education 6 3/4s of 2021 were quoted at 99 1/4-3/4 to yield 6.77% and New Jersey Turnpike Authority 6 1/2s of 2016 were quoted at 97 1/2-5/8 to yield 6.71%.
Short-term note yields were mixed on the day after three days of steady declines.
In late secondary trading, Los Angeles Trans were quoted at 3.80% bid, 3.70% offered. March New York State Trans were quoted at 5.15% bid, 5.05% offered. Texas notes were quoted at 3.80% bid, 3.70% offered in late cash trading. New York City Rans were quoted at 5.25% bid, 5.10% offered.