Last week's rate cuts by the Federal Reserve touched off a $4 billion new-paper stampede yesterday - unofficially the year's second biggest single-day tally so far.

"It's the rates." one new-issue watcher said.

Not counting yesterday's total, single-day corporate bond issuance has surpassed $3 billion five times this year, according to IDD Information Services.

Issuance has hit $3.5 billion or better only three other times in 1992. Jan. 8 was the biggest day with $5.4 billion of new issues, the IDD said.

Yesterday proved the first prime day for new issues since the Federal Reserve lowered the discount rate 50 basis points, to 3% from 3 1/2%, Thursday, the new-issue source said.

Issuance usually slows immediately before and after holidays, and Mondays tend to be dry anyway, he said. Close to $1.2 billion of new debt was priced Monday, however.

According to its latest figures, IDD shows that the $157.1 billion of corporate debt issued this year has already surpassed the $151.2 billion recorded in 1986. Formerly, 1986 held second place for issuance behind last year's close of $213 billion.

IDD figures are for nonconvertible corporate debt since 1985, including agency issues but excluding mortgage- and asset-backed issues.

John Lonksi, senior economist at Moody's Investors Service, said July is on pace to overtake the hefty $19.1 billion of new issues that made June the second biggest new-issue month in 1992.

But Mr. Lonski said July won't snatch January's record of close to $26.6 billion of new debt. Aside from it being summer, usually a slow time. many of the prime refinancing candidates have already done offerings, he said.

He added that high-yield issues have also slowed with the initial public offering market's softening, so July can't count on those issues to swell its dollar volume.

Mr. Lonski's figures are for straight and convertible debt rated by Moody's, excluding federal agency issues, medium-term notes, and mortgage- and asset-backed issues.

In secondary trading yesterday, high-grades gained 1/4 point in the 10-year sector though activity was light. New issues, most of which appeared to be selling well, stole the spotlight, traders said. High-yield bond prices climbed 1/4 to 3/8 points.

New Issues

Province of Quebec issued $750 million of 7.5% notes due 2002. The noncallable notes were priced to yield 7.538%. or 68 basis points over 10-year Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Aa3, while Standard & Poor's Corp. rates it AA-minus. Merrill, Lynch & Co. lead managed the offering.

Virginia Electric & Power Co. issued a two-part first mortgage bond offering totaling $370 million. The first tranche consisted of $155 million of 7.375% bonds due 2002. The bonds were priced at 99.821 to yield 7.40%, or 54 basis points over comparable Treasuries. The second tranche consisted of $215 million of 7.625% bonds due 2007. The bonds were priced at 99.862 to yield 7.64%, or 78 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering A2, while Standard & Poor's rates it A. Lehman Brothers managed the offering.

Bank of New York issued $350 million of 7.625% subordinated notes due 2002. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.271 to yield 7.731 or 87.5 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Baa1, while Standard & Poor's rates it BBB-plus. Lehman Brothers managed the offering.

Southern California Edison issued $300 million of 6.125% first and refunding mortgage bonds due 1997. The bonds were priced at 99.598 to yield 6.22%, or 30 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Aa3, while Standard & Poor's rates it AA. A syndicate led by Lehman Brothers won competitive bidding to underwrite the offering.

Republic of Ireland issued $300 million of 7.125% notes due 2002. The noncallable notes were priced at 99 to yield 7.267%, or 40 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Aa3, while Standard & Poor's rates it AA-minus. Lehman Brothers managed the offering.

Exxon Capital issued $250 million of 6.5% notes due 1999. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.435 to yield 6.602%, or 17 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's and Standard & Poor's rate the offering triple-A. Merrill Lynch managed the offering.

Republic NY Corp. issued $250 million of 7.250% subordinated notes due 2002. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.002 to yield 7.393%, or 55 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Al, while Standard & Poor's rates it AA-minus. Lehman Brothers lead managed the offering.

Federal National Mortgage Corp. issued $200 million of 5% step-up notes due 1997. The notes were priced initially at par. Noncallable for for two years, the note's coupon increases to 6.625% in 1994. Goldman, Sachs & Co. sole managed the offering.

Lincoln National issued a two-part offering totaling $200 million. The first tranche consisted of $100 million of 7.125% notes due 1999. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.43 to yield 7.23%, or 80 basis points over comparable Treasuries. The second piece consisted of $1 00 million of 7.625% notes due 2002. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.414 to yield 7.71 %, or 85 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering A2, while Standard & Poor's rates it A-plus. Merrill Lynch lead managed the offering.

Southwestern Public Service Co. issued a two-part first mortgage bond offering totaling $175 million. The first tranche consisted of $135 million of 7.25% bonds due 2004. Noncallable for seven years, the bonds were priced at 99.20 to yield 7.351 %, or 49 basis points over 10-year Treasuries. The second part consisted of $40 million of 8.25% bonds due 2022. Callable after 10 years at 103.575, the bonds were priced at 98.90 to yield 8.35%, or 73 basis points over 30-year Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Aa2, while Standard & Poor's rates it AA. Dillon, Read & Co. managed the offering.

Dow Capital issued $150 million of 7.375% notes due 2002. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.638 to yield 7.427%, or 56 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering A1, while Standard & Poor's rates it A. Salomon Brothers lead managed the offering.

Carolina Power & Light issued $150 million of 8.20% notes due 2022. Noncallable for 10 years, the bonds were priced at 98.90 to yield 8.30%, or 70 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering A2, while Standard & Poor's rates it A. Prudential Securities won competitive bidding to underwrite the offering.

Baltimore Gas & Electric issued $125 million of 7.250% first and refunding mortgage bonds due 2002. The noncallable bonds were priced at 99.926 to yield 7.26%, or 40 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Al, while Standard & Poor's rates it A-plus. Salomon Brothers sole managed the offering.

Nimo Power issued $102.4 million of 8.770% secured facility bonds due 2018 at par. Nonrefundable for five years. the bonds have an l8.8-years average life and were priced to yield a spread of 115 basis points over 30-%-ear Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Baa3, while Standard & Poor's rates it BBB-minus. Merrill Lynch managed the offering.

Aristar Corp. issued $100 million of 6.25% senior notes due 1996. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.965 to yield 6.26%. or 85 basis points over the blended yield of three- and five- year Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Baal, while Standard & Poor's rates it A. Merrill Lynch managed the offering.

Boston Safe Deposit & Trust Co. issued $100 million of 3.95% bank notes due 1993 at par. The noncallable notes were priced to yield 30 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering A2, while Standard & Poor's rates it A-plus. Lehman Brothers managed the offering.

PS Oklahoma issued $65 million of 7.25% first mortgage bonds due 2003. The noncallable bonds were priced at 99.741 to yield 7.284%, or 43 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Aa2, while Standard & Poor's rates it AA-minus. Merrill Lynch managed the transaction.

Pennsylvania Power Co. issued $50 million of 8.50% first mortgage bonds due 2022. Noncallable for 10 years, the bonds were priced at 99.805 to yield 8.518%, or 92 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Baa2, while Standard & Poor's rates it BBB. Morgan Stanley & Co. sole managed the offering.

Yesterday's Ratings

Moody's has placed Shell Oil Company's Aaa long-term debt ratings under review for a possible downgrade. The company's Prime-1 rating for short-term debt is not under review, however.

"Moody's review is prompted by concerns that Shell Oil's returns and fixed-charge protection measures will continue to suffer relative to those of its highly rated peer group because of weak industry conditions," the rating agency said in a release.

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