New junk issues are already 41.8% ahead of 1992's record volume, while new investment-grade deals are 32.6% ahead of last year's all-time high.
According to Securities Data Co., 332 high-yield deals totaling $56.205 billion have arrived this year through Friday. That compares with 236 deals totaling $39.638 billion in 1992.
Investment-grade offerings numbered 2,682 through Friday for a total of $367.157 billion, a source at Newark, N.J.-based Securities Data said yesterday. That compares with 1,908 issues totaling $276.974 billion in 1992.
Securities Data's figures reflect principal amounts for nonconvertible debt, excluding mortgage- and asset-backed issues but including agencies.
Brian Doyle, vice president and director of high-yield research at Citicorp Securities Inc., said the 1994 new junk deal pace is "more likely to be ahead,' of what this year will post.
Doyle bases his contention primarily on the money that continues to flow into high-yield funds, and the improving economy.
"The high-yield market is still one of the last places mom and pop can turn for absolute yield," Doyle said of small investors.
In addition, the improving economy will mean that some cyclical issuers, such as those in the paper industry, will see their operations improve enough to make their bonds appeal to investors, he said.
On the investment-grade side, Joe Mullally, a vice president and senior fixed-income strategist at CS First Boston, said that roughly one in three of this year's new offerings was for new money, with two in three for refinancing.
But with much refinancing done over the past few years and interest rates no longer at their lowest levels, things are likely to change in 1994 as the economy improves.
"Gross issuance will probably not be as high, but net new issuance will be higher for 1994," Mullally said.
In secondary activity yesterday, spreads on high-grade issues ended unchanged in light pre-holiday trading.
"It's extremely quiet," one trader said. Junk prices were also quiet and unchanged.
Federal Home Loan Banks reportedly issued $254.5 million of 4.57% notes due 1996 at par. The noncallable notes were priced to yield five basis points over comparable Treasuries. Merrill Lynch & Co. was the lead manager.
Federal Home Loan Banks issued $50 million of 5.19% notes due 1998 at par. The noncallable notes were priced to yield eight basis points over the 4 3/4% Treasuries of 1998. Lehman Brothers managed the offering.
Federal Home Loan Banks issued $39 million of 5.265% notes due 1998 at par. The noncallable notes were priced to yield six basis points over comparable Treasuries. Aubrey G. Lanston & Co. managed the offering.
Standard & Poor's Corp. has placed UAL Corp.'s ratings on Creditwatch with developing implications. The designation means the ratings could be either raised or lowered.
Affected are the company's BB implied senior debt rating, B-plus subordinated debt, and B-plus preferred stock.
The rating agency has also placed the BB senior debt and BB-plus equipment trust certificate ratings for UAL's subsidiary, United Air Lines Inc., on CreditWatch with developing implications.
Roughly $3.8 billion of debt is affected.
"The proposed employee acquisition of a majority interest in UAL, under consideration by UAL's board of directors, has both negative and positive aspects for credit quality," a Standard & Poor's release says.
Standard & Poor's has downgraded Public Service Co. of New Mexico and its entities and removed them from CreditWatch where it placed them on Oct. 27.
"The lower ratings reflect weak financial measures relative to the company's current below-average business position," Standard & Poor's said in a release. "The company's efforts continue to focus on restructuring operations and reducing surplus electric generating capacity as well as cutting high industrial electric rates in order to meet the challenge of an increasingly competitive market."
* Public Service Co. of New Mexico's senior secured debt to BB from BB-plus, senior unsecured debt to B-plus from BB-minus, and preferred stock to B-minus from B.
* EIP Refunding Corp.'s secured lease obligation bonds to B-plus from BB-minus.
* First PV Funding Corp.'s lease obligation bonds to B from B-plus.
Public Service Co. of New Mexico has about $1.7 billion of debt and preferred stock outstanding.