New York stole the spotlight in the tax-exempt market yesterday with the city's sale of $1 billion tax anticipation notes and the state's offering of $191.3 million general obligation bonds.

In light secondary trading, prices managed gains of 1/8 to 1/4 point after closing unchanged for this week's first two sessions. Some New York dollar bonds moved up 1/4 on the successful marketing of the state's issue, which was down to a balance of less than $75 million.

Both New York City and New York State were the beneficiaries of aggressive bidding with the former getting a true interest cost of 4.9217% and the latter drawing an average rate of 6.6655%. The borrowing costs for both loans were well below the levels estimated by market participants at the beginning of the week.

For example, last Friday note traders were talking about a yield approximating 5 1/4% for the city notes and a return of 7.15% to 7.20% for 20-year state bonds. The note yields ranged yesterday from 4.85% to 4.95%. And with the help of insurance, the return on the 20-year state maturity came in at 6.85%.

The notes were awarded to five bidding interests, with a First Boston Corp. account getting $425 million and a J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. group taking $350 million.

Accounts headed by Lehman Brothers and Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co., each were awarded $100 million. And a Merrill Lynch & Co. group chipped in with a $25 million purchase.

The bulk of the notes carry a 5 3/4 rate, but those purchased by Smith Barney have a 5 1/4% rate and the ones bought by Merrill Lynch have a 5 1/2% rate.

The notes will be dated Aug. 7, 1991, will mature Feb. 3, 1992, and are rated MIG-1 by Moody's Investors Service, SPI-plus by Standard & Poor's Corp., and F1-plus by Fitch Investors Service. They attracted a total of 45 bids.

Although there were sizable blocks of notes still in dealer hands late yesterday, note traders said that the deal should be in good shape by settlement date. "The money market funds will find them attractive in the next couple of sessions," one note trader volunteered.

A five-handed account led by Chemical Securities Inc. won the New York State issue with a TIC of 6.6655%. Other members were Morgan Stanley & Co., PaineWebber Inc., Bear, Stearns & Co., and Manufacturers Hanover Securities Corp.

The second best bid came from a J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. group with a 6.6755% TIC. There were four bids received and the last bidder was only three basis points away with a 6.6995% TIC.

At the state's last sale in March of this year, it incurred a 6.899% TIC on a $185 million borrowing. AMBAC Indemnity Corp. insured $35.6 million at that borrowing, compared to $45.6 million at yesterday's sale.

Yields on the New York State issue ran from 5% in 1992 to 6.70% in 2002 for the uninsured bonds. The returns for the AMBAC-backed bonds ran from 6.60% in 2003 to 6.85% in 2008 through 2021.

In addition to the balance of approximately $75 million in the primary account, there were bonds available in a secondary account operating in 2012 to 2021.

New York's uninsured GO bonds are rated A by Moody's and Standard & Poor's. The AMBAC-insured bonds carry triple-A ratings.

In commenting on the sale, Comptroller Edward V. Regan said he was pleased with the submission of four aggressive bids.

New York State notes benefited from yesterday's aggressive New York City pricing and yields fell 15 basis points on the outstanding 5.40% tax and revenue anticipation notes maturing next March. They were quoted late yesterday at 5.36% bid, 5.30% offered.

In other secondary note activity, the market for New Jersey 5s was at 4.95% bid, 4.92% offered. And Los Angeles County 5s, where they could be found, were being bid at 4.85%.

In secondary dollar bond trading, New Jersey Turnpike Authority 7.20s of 2018 were quoted near the close of trading at 103-103 1/4 to yield 6.64% to the 1999 par call and 6.80% to the premium call in 1993. Florida State Board of Education 7 1/4, due 2023, closed at 102 1/2-103 to yield 6.91% to their par call in 2004. And New York LGAC 7s of 2016 were at 97-97 1/4 to yield 7.24% to maturity.

On the more recent issues. Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority 7s of 2021 were at 97 7/8-98 1/8 to yield 7.15%. And Florida State Board of Education 6 3/4s of 2021 were at 98 1/4-3/8, where they returned 6.88%.

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