New issues continued to dominate the tax-exempt market yesterday, and secondary trading was again caught in a narrow trading range.
Traders said that prices were basically unchanged on the day, but that there was an upward bias late in the session. Traders cited the late price improvement in the Treasury market for the firmer tone near the close.
Although new issues continued to call the shots yesterday, this week's supply is off significantly from the last several weeks when trade buyers and permanent investors saw several $1 billion sessions. Yesterday's new-issue calendar was just a little more than $600 million.
Things will pick up today, however, particularly in the New York sector, where New York City is selling $1 billion of tax anticipation notes, and the state is offering $191.3 million of general obligation bonds.
Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's Corp. yesterday confirmed their A ratings on the state issue and Standard & Poor's confirmed its SP1-plus rating for the city notes. On Monday, Moody's assigned the notes a MIG-1 rating and Fitch Investors Service--in its first rating of New York City paper -- gave the notes an F1-plus rating.
An issue of $50 million Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority guaranteed water and wastewater revenue bonds topped yesterday's competitive slate and was awarded to a First Boston Corp. account at a net interest coast of 6.468%. A Goldman, Sachs & Co. group was second bidder with a 6.4846% NIC.
Reoffering yields ran from 5.15% in 1994 to 6.05% in 2001, 6.60% in 2006 and 6.70% in 2011. The yields on the long end of the curve were right in line with where traders were evaluating Georgia GO bonds late last week. The issue sold down to a $17.5 million balance with bonds left in the 2002-05 and 2007-09 maturities.
The Georgia issue is rated triple-A by Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Investors Service, and AA-plus by Standard & Poor's Corp.
In the negotiated sector, a Bear, Stearns & Co. account marketed $130 million Northumberland County Authority, Pa., commonwealth lease revenue bonds and reported the account closed. The bonds will be backed by MBIA Corp. and are rated triple-A by Standard & Poor's and Moody's.
The offering included current interest serial bonds scaled from 5.50% in 1994 to 6.80% in 2003 and $49.5 million term bonds of 2009 offered at 93 as 6 1/4 to yield 6.93%. There was no formal reoffering of the 2004 serial maturity.
The capital appreciation bonds, due 2010-14, will carry a 7.10% return.
The underwriters were able to shave the term bond return two basis points from the preliminary pricing, but had to sweeten the first two serial maturities five to 10 basis points.
In another negotiated financing, a Merrill Lynch & Co. group priced $123 million Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District wastewater improvement revenue bonds with a maximum yield of 6.85% for $60.7 terms of 2016 offered at 95.81 as 6 1/2s. A $20.6 million term maturity in 2008 was priced at 97.46 as 6 1/2s to yield 6.75%. And serials were scaled from 4.80% in 1992 to 6.50% in 2004.
The final returns came in five basis points lower for the long serial and term maturities.
The issue is being insured by AMBAC Indemnity Corp. and is rated triple-A by Moody's and Standard & Poor's.
In secondary dollar bond trading, New Jersey Turnpike Authority 7.20s of 2018 were still being quoted late in the day at 103-103 1/4 to yield 6.64% to the par callin 1999 and 6.80% to the premium call in 1993. Florida State Board of Education 7 1/4s of 2023 were marginally higher at 102 1/2-103 to yield 6.89% to their 2004 par call.
A recent issue of Florida State Board of Education 6 3/4s of 2021 was unchanged at 98-98 1/8 to yield 6.90% to maturity. And last week's Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority 7s of 2021 was slightly easier at 97 7/8-98 to yield 7.16%.
Note traders reported prices slightly on the day with yields a couple of basis points lower. New Jersey 5s were quoted near the close at 4.97% bid, 4.95% offered. The market for New York 5.40% March tax and revenue anticipation notes was quoted late at 5.49% bid, 5.47% offered. New York notes moved up late in the day in price as there was speculation that today's big City note offering will be priced more aggressively than had been thought, traders said.
Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, Fla., $73.6 million Tampa International Airport Refunding bonds, 1991 series A.
Ratings: Moody's A 1992-1996, Aaa 1997-2011 FGIC insured. Standard & Poor's A 1992-1996, AAA 1997-2011 FGIC insured.
The $27.8 million term bonds of 2011 were priced at 99 5/8 as 6.90s to yield 6.935%. The serial bonds were offered at par and scaled from 5% in 1992 to 6.85% in 2006.
The bonds were marketed through an account led by Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. The verbal award was received yesterday.
Lexington County Health Services District Inc., S.C., $63.3 million hospital revenue bonds, series 1991.
Ratings: Moody's Aaa; Standard & Poor's AAA. FSA insured.
The offering was comprised of serial bonds priced to yield from 5.50% in 1993 to 6.75% in 2002, term bonds priced at 99 3/8 as 7s to yield 7.06% in 2008, term bonds priced at 96 as 6 3/4s to yield 7.083% in 2018, adn term bonds priced at 87 1/4 as 6s to yield 7.028% in 2021.
The account was managed by PaineWebber Inc. The verbal award was received yesterday.
St. Charles Parish, La., $50 million pollution control revenue bonds, series 1991 (Louisiana Power & Light Co.).
Ratings Moody's Baa2; Standard & Poor's BBB.
The issue was priced at an original issue discount of 99 1/2 as 7 1/2s to yield 7.542% in 2021. The interest on the bonds is subject to the federal alternative minimum tax for individuals.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. was senior manager for the underwriters. The formal award was received yesterday.
Illinois Health Facilities Authority, $49.1 million revenue bonds, series 1991 (Northwestern Memorial Hospital).
Ratings: Moody's Aa; Standard & Poor's AA.
The $38.5 million term bonds, due 2011, were offered at 96.29 as 6 3/4 to yield 7/10%. Serial yields ranged from 5.80% in 1995 to 6.60% in 2001.
First Boston Corp. and PaineWebber Inc. were joint managers. The written award is expected tomorrow.
Arkansas School District, $24.8 million cash flow borrowing program certificates of participation.
Ratings: Moody's MIG-1. Irrevocable direct pay letter of credit from Mitsui Taiyo Kobe Bank Ltd., Chicago branch.
The issue was offered at par to yield 5.375% to the Dec. 9, 1992 maturity date. The official award is expected today.
Cape Canaveral Hospital District, Fl., $22.8 million improvement revenue certificates, series 1991.
Ratings: Moody's Aaa; Standard & Poor's AAA. AMBAC insured.
The offering was comprised of $21.8 million term bonds of 2021 priced at 98 1/2 as 6 7/8 to yield 6.995% and serial bonds offered at par to yield from 5.55% in 1994 to 6.40% in 2001.
Merrill Lynch & Co. managed the underwriting account. The verbal award was received yesterday.