A slightly better bid for municipals held the market within a familiar range yesterday despite the report of a surge in consumer confidence.
The credit markets edged lower at the opening as players anticipated indications of economic strength. The markets got what they expected from the Conference Board's closely-watched consumer confidence index. The index jumped to 80.2 in December from a revised 71.9 in November. The index of consumers' expectations for the economy rose to 91.9 from 80.3 in November, while the index that measures their view of the present economy rose to 62.6 from 59.2.
The consumer confidence survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. It is conducted for the conference Board by National Family Opinion Inc. of Greenwhich, Conn.
The Treasury 30-year bond was quoted down 10/32 to yield 6.24% after the confidence report was released. Municipal traders reported some moderate bid-wanted activity, but prices were mixed overall. Soon afterward, however, short covering brought the Treasury market back up to snuff.
Lower commodity prices, led by a drop in oil, gave the market back its mettle. A decline in the Commodity Research Bureau's index relieved pressure on the market caused by a surge in December consumer confidence. The CRB fell more than 3/4 point to 224.90 through the morning. Oil fell below $14 a barrel.
After the brief price gyration, the municipal market settled back into its holiday slumber. By session's end, prices were narrowly mixed for the second day in a row, traders said.
In debt futures, the March municipal contract settled up 3/32 at 104.01, after posting a low of 103.20. The MOB spread was calculated at negative 386.
In secondary dollar bond trading, Valdez, Alaska 5.65s of 2028 were quoted at 100 1/8 bid, 100 3/8 offered to yield 5.64%; New York UDC 5 3/8s of 2023 were quoted 5.72% bid, 5.69% offered; and Los Angeles MTA AMBAC 5 1/4s of 2023 were 5.38% bid, 5.36% offered.
New York City Water 5 1/2s of 2019 were quoted at 5.56% bid, 5.54% offered; Florida MPA 5.10s of 2025 were at 5.36% bid, 5.34% offered; and Orange and Orlando Expressway FGIC 5 1/4s of 2019 were 5.34% bid, lock.
Chicago O'Hare 5s of 2018 were quoted at 5.38% bid, 5.36% offered, and Florida Board of Education 5.20s of 2023 were 97 5/8-3/4 to yield 5.36%.
Reflecting the continued bid for bonds from the Street, The Blue List of dealer inventory fell $34 million yesterday, to $1.772 billion from $1.806 billion on Monday. This marked the fourth straight session that The Blue List has declined.
In December, The Blue List held a daily average of $1.62 billion versus $1.78 billion in November. The highest monthly average was the $1.89 billion tabulated for July. So far in 1993, the daily average is $1.58 billion compared with $1.36 billion in 1992.