The tax-exempt market took it on the chin for the ninth consecutive session yesterday as dealers found trading difficult ahead of this week's May inflation reports, which are expected to show higher-than-desired increases.

Dollar bond prices were off 3/8 point on average from Tuesday's closing levels, while high-grade serial yields backed up about five basis points, traders said. Note trading was very quiet ahead of today's $1.3 billion Los Angeles County tax and revenue anticipation note offering, but yields on California paper closed higher by five basis points.

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