Municipal prices were unchanged to slightly firmer in dull trading yesterday as the market drifts in a range in sympathy with the govnerment sector.
Traders reported gains of 1/8 point in spots, with short-term and high-grade paper slightly firmer.
Initial state unemployment insurance claims rose 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 430,000 in the week ended Aug. 10. The municipal sector barely twitched and traders expected little activity ahead of the weekend.
In the debt futures market, the September municipal futures contract settled up 6/32 to 93.23 with the September MOB spread calculated at negative 140.
The market could react to today's July durable goods report, which is expected to show a 1.4% gain in orders, according to 12 economists surveyed by The Bond Buyer.
Secondary trading remains light, although there continue to be a handful of situations.
New issuance has ebbed considerably since heavy supply began a month ago.
The 30-day visible dipped below the $2 billion mark yesterday, falling $436 million to $1.55 billion. That's down $610 million from last Thursday's total and marks the first time since July 25 that both the competitive and negotiated components were under $1 billion.
But even as upcoming supply diminishes, The Blue List of dealer inventory jumped $333 million to $1.38 billion. That's up $443 million from last Thursday.
In follow-through business in the primary sector yesterday, Goldman, Sachs & Co., senior manager for $602 million California various purpose taxable general obligation bonds marketed Wednesday, reported an unsold balance of $289 million late yesterday. Late Wednesday, Goldman reported an unsold balance of $299 million.
A Goldman, Sachs officer said yesterday that the firm would not reprice the deal. "We've got a lot of customers close and we're just going to chip away at it," the officer said. "After as many as we sold yesterday I'm disappointed with today."
In light new-issue activity, Merrill Lynch & Co. tentatively priced $78 million North Central Texas Health Facilities Development Corp., Presbyterian Healthcare system project bonds.
The offering was tentatively priced to yield from 4.08% in 1992 to 6.90% in 2006.
A 2011 term is tentatively priced to yield 6.95% and a 2013 term is tentatively priced to yield 6.95%.
The bonds are rated Aa by Moody's Investors Service.
A Morgan Stanley group tentatively priced and repriced $69 million Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority revenue bonds for the Fallon Healthcare System to lower the 1993 maturity by 10 basis points and the term bonds by four to five basis points.
The final terms of sale included serials priced to yield from 4.08% in 1992 to 6.70% in 2004.
A 2011 term is priced to yield 6.979%, a 2020 term is priced to yield 7.025%, and a 2021 discount term is tentatively priced to yield 6.894%.
The bonds are insured by Capital Guaranty and are triple-A rated by Standard & Poor's Corp.
In light competitive activity, $60 million San Jose Redevelopment Agency, Calif., merged area redevelopment project tax allocation bonds were won by a Goldman, Sachs & Co. group with a true interest cost of 6.6432%.
Goldman reported an unsold balance of $10.8 million late yesterday.
The bonds were priced to yield from 4.50% in 1992 to 6.50% in 2004.
A 2011 term, containing $30 million of the loan, is priced to yield 6.75%.
The bonds are insured by the Municipal Bond Investors Assurance Corp. and rated triple-A by both Moody's and Standard & Poor's.
In secodary dollar bond trading, New Jersey Turnpike Authority 7.20s, due 2018, were quoted unchanged at 103 1/4-1/2 to yield 6.59% to the par call in 1999. Florida State Board of Education 6 3/4s of 2021 were unchanged at 98 1/4-1/2, where they returned 6.86% to maturity.
Short-term note yields were mostly unchanged to slightly firmer in light trading.
In the secondary, March California notes were quoted near the end of cash trading at 4.45% bid, 4.42% offered, while June California notes were quoted at 4.50% bid, 4.46% offered. New Jersey notes ere quoted at 4.52% bid, 4.50% offered, while March New York State Trans were quoted at 5.04% bid, 5.02% offered.