Municipal bonds weathered yesterday's various storms, bouyed by good technicals, while $425 million New Jersey Turnpike Authority bonds were reported oversubscribed with a 6.943% maximum yield.
The market got an early-morning shock when the Soviet news agency, Tass, reported that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had been deposed.
Markets plummeted around the world on the news and an initial flight-to-quality sent the Treasury market up almost two points with the long-bond dipping as low as 7.92%.
But the stock market, which dipped as much as 100 points in early selling, bought back ground at mid-session and Treasury prices retreated, ending the session slighty lower.
"It was a classic flight-to-quality exacerbated by a lack of paper," said a tax-exempt note trader, who said that short-term yields dipped 15 basis points at the open. "When people started to think about it, they turned sellers and we settled back about unchanged as most people still believe rates will be headed lower."
Cash prices were practically oblivious and traders reported bonds up 1/8 to 1/4 point in spots in light trading.
In the debt futures market, the September municipal contract settled unchanged at 93.13 with the September MOB spread calculated at negative 126.
Traders said events in the Soviet Union are not likely to be resolved soon and will remain a wild-card. Attention will now be split between events overseas and the prospect of an ease in monetary policy after today's Federal Open Market Committee meeting or at the end of the month when unemployment data will be released.
"This is the last thing the market needed in terms of a curve ball," said the head of New York-based trading desk. "It took a long time for the market to build a consensus and these kinds of developments cause you to step back and think about the repercussions on all financial instruments. And, rates look like they may go lower on their own and a Fed ease may not be necessary. We'll likely tread water here for a while."
Investors, meanwhile, also seemed undaunted by the news, and new issues again found adequate buyers.
An 11-member group led by First Boston tentatively priced and then repriced the New Jersey Turnpike Authority turnpike revenue refunding bonds to lower the 1998 maturity by five basis points and the 2008 maturity one basis point.
The offering included serials priced to yield from 5.30% in 1994 to 6.55% in 2003.
A 2008 term, containing $86 million of the loan, is priced to yield 6.826%, and a 2014 term of $91 million, is priced to yield 6.943%.
A First Boston officer said late yesterday that the firm had received the verbal award. The officer added that there would be bonds distributed to the Street.
The issue is rated A by Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's Corp., and Fitch Investors Service.
Secondary trading was light, but traders did report some retail bid-wanteds in circulation.
New York City bonds continue to improve, some with the help of secondary insurance, offered by AM-BAC Indemnity Corp. Long bonds were quoted around 8.05% or slightly lower.
Secondary activity has been slow over the last month, despite record supply, as most new issues go to permanent investors hunting attractive yields.
Standard & Poor's Blue List of municipal bonds totaled $1.06 billion yesterday, a $65 million increase from Friday and approximately $30 million more than a week ago.
In three of the last four weeks, the placement ratio has exceeded 85%, most notably last week's 96% showing, just below the year's high, set in July when $717.2 million new competitive issues were offered and 96.7% went to permanent buyers.
Last week, $1.4 billion in new securities hit the market and $1.34 billion were bought by permanent investors. Over the past four weeks, 91.1% of new issues have left the Street.
In secondary dollar bond trading, New Jersey Turnpike Authority 7.20s, due 2018, were quoted in late trading up 1/8 to 103 1/2-5/8 to lower the yield to 6.56% to the par call in 1999 and 6.58% to the 1993 premium call. Florida State Board of Education 6 3/4s of 2021 were unchanged at 98 1/2-5/8, where they returned 6.86% to maturity.
In the New York market, the latest Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority insured 6s of 2019 settled unchanged at 90 1/2-5/8 to yield 7.12%.
In other dollar bond activity, Colorado River Authority insured 6 5/8s of 2021 were up 1/8 to 97-97 1/4 to yield 6.84% and Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority 7s of 2021 closed unchanged at 98 3/4-99 to yield 7.08%.
Short-term note yields settled down about five basis points on average after dipping 15 basis points at the opening.
In secondary trading, June California notes opened offered at 4.45%, but closed at 4.60% bid, 4.55% offered, slightly better than the close last Friday. March New York State Trans were opened at 4.89% bid, 4.85% offered, but were quoted near the end of cash trading at 5.05% bid, 5% offered, slightly better than Friday's close where they were quoted at 5.08% bid, 5.05% offered. New Jersey notes settled in at 4.50% bid, 4.45% offered.