Municipal prices were unchanged yesterday ahead of supply and economic data, despite Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan's statement that the economy is still sluggish.
Treasury prices moved higher after Mr. Greenspan said the economy has lost steam and the recovery has slowed after a spark of growth this spring and summer.
But municipal cash lagged considerably in dull trading with almost no noticeable price changes. Futures prices, however, improved slightly with the December municipal contract settling up 4/32 to 94.06. The December MOB spread was calculated at negative 135.
Prices are likely to remain in a range until Friday's employment data, traders said. Until then, supply is the main concern as more deals hit the market. The Bond Buyer's 30-day visible supply calendar jumped $514 million, to $3.9 billion.
In the negotiated sector yesterday, a group led by Commonwealth Securities and Investments Inc. tentatively priced a $120 million Harrisburg Authority Dauphin County, Pa., Commonwealth lease revenue issue.
A commonwealth officer said late in the session that the deal would be restructured this morning.
The preliminary pricing included serial maturities tentatively priced to yield from 5.10% in 1994 to 6.45% in 2003.
A 2013 term was tentatively priced to yield 6.75%.
The bonds are backed by Capital Guaranty and are rated triple-A by Standard & Poor's Corp.
In competitive action, $60 million of Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, Los Angeles County, Calif., revenue certificates of participation were won by a Lehman Brothers group with a net interest cost of 6.482426%.
The offering included serial maturities priced to yield from 4.60% in 1992 to 6.40% in 2006.
A 2011 term is priced as 6 1/4s to yield 6.52%, and a 2016 term is priced as 6.30s to yield 6.58%.
Lehman reported an unsold balance of $10.5 million late in the session.
The issue is insured by the Municipal Bond Investors Assurance Corp. and triple-A rated by both Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's Corp.
In follow-through business, Goldman, Sachs & Co., senior manager for $158 million of Missouri general obligation building and water pollution control refunding bonds, reported an unsold balance of $43 million.
Lehman Brothers, senior manager for $124 million in New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority single-family residential mortgage bonds, reported an unsold balance of $3.6 million.
Secondary trading was light as most market players were content to sit on the sidelines. Standard & Poor's The Blue List of dealer inventory totaled $1.34 billion, down $34 million from Friday.
In secondary dollar bond activity yesterday, most prices were unchanged on the day.
North Carolina Eastern 6 1/2s of 2017 were quoted at 95 7/8-96 1/8 to yield 6.82%. Denver Airport 7 3/4s, due 2021, were quoted at 93 1/2-94 to yield approximately 8.29%. New York City Water Authority 7s of 2015 were quoted at 98 5/8-7/8 to yield 7.09%, while Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority insured 6 5/8s were quoted at 98 5/8-7/8 to yield 6.71%.
Meanwhile, short-term note yields sank about 10 basis points in light trading yesterday.
In late secondary trading, Los Angeles Trans were quoted at 4.25% bid, 4.20% offered. Texas Trans were quoted at 4.19% bid, 4.15% offered and Pennsylvania Tans were quoted at 4.35% bid, 4.30% offered. Negative budget talk over the last week prevented New York paper from participating in the price gains, traders said. March New York State Trans were quoted at 5.15% bid, 5.12% offered, while New York City Rans were quoted at 5.12% bid, 5.09% offered.
New issuance today is dominated
Volume at a Glance
Long-Term Municipal Issues ($ Bil.)
(Private Placements EXCLUDED)
February 11.89 100.00
Sept. 13.70 Year Year
Oct. 1-25 9.18 To Date Earlier
Source: Securities Data Co./Bond Buyer
by two sizable competitive deals.
The state of Nevada will market $194 million various limited tax full faith and credit bonds.
The issue is rated double-A by both Moody's and Standard & Poor's.
Traders said they expected to see bonds in the 20-year range priced to yield between a 6.60% to 6.70%.
In other action, the East Bay Municipal Utility District will offer two issues totalling $180 million for Alameda and Contra Costa counties, Calif.
The first offering consists of water system subordinated revenue bonds, totaling $130 million. The bonds are rated A1 by Moody's and AA-minus by Standard & Poor's.
The second offering consists of waste water system subordinated revenue bonds, totaling $50 million. The bonds are rated A1 by Moody's and A-plus by Standard & Poor's.
Traders said they expected uninsured bonds to be priced between 6.65% to 6.75% in 20 years.
O'Brien Partners Inc. and Artemis Capital Group Inc. have been tapped as co-financing consultants.
East Bay officials said yesterday that insurance will be available to bidders.
The deals are expected to be the last priced for about two years, the officials said.