Municipal bonds declined for the 10th straight trading session Wednesday and lost the most ground in a single day during that time span.
New issues flooded the primary market at lower prices than Tuesday, cheapening the rest of the market looking at new deals for guidance.
In terms of day-to-day total returns:
The high-grade, short end of the curve showed a total return of negative 0.14%, according to Municipal Market Advisors (MMA) data.
The high-grade, intermediate part of the curve showed a total return of negative 0.26%.
The high-grade, long end of the curve showed a total return of negative 0.21%.
The high-grade marketplace of bonds rated double-A or better traded in sporadic fashion all day. There were block trades of $20 million or more that the market watched trade with large concessions to where they had recently. Meanwhile, other large trades came in richer than recent transactions. This type of activity created a market that most referred to as "by appointment only," as only certain credits were in high demand.
In the non-investment grade sector of non-rated bonds or triple-B and lower, securities lost much more ground than high grades. Credit spreads continue to widen as the market is expecting a poor showing in March.
The new-issue calendar in municipals started to make the transition from retail order periods to official institutional pricings. In many cases, the prices of bonds were cheapened significantly for institutions.
Major new issues priced Wednesday:
$457 million system revenue bonds for the Trustees of the California State University; Aa3/A+/NR; retail only.
$413 million state revolving fund bonds for the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust; Aaa/AAA/AAA; priced for institutions.
$411 million tax-exempt general obligation bonds for New York; Aa3/AA/AA; priced for institutions.
$400 million building aid revenue bonds for the New York City Transitional Finance Authority; A1/AA-/A+; priced for institutions.
Losses are growing, and the long end of the yield curve is starting to catch up with the 10-year sector that was leading the way last week.
If you're interested in learning more about muni's and our upcoming premium service
Muni Markets Daily
just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew Posner is a director with Municipal Market Advisors. Posner writes intraday research, data and commentary on the municipal market and heads up the firm's efforts in Washington, D.C., as an educator of policy markers on the tax-exempt securities market. Founded in 1995, MMA is the leading independent strategy, research and advisory firm in municipal bond industry.