Two modest-sized deals rounded off a week that saw frenzied activity at the start but tapered off toward the end. Nine borrowers flooded the market on Monday to sell close to $9 billion in new debt, and four issuers tapped the market on Tuesday. For the rest of the week, the action was confined to the secondary market, where new issues mostly have traded below reoffer levels.
With the high demand for new paper, borrowers were able to print deals with no new-issue concessions, on average, and oversubscription levels were more than three times, according to syndicate officials. High-grade issuers continued to take advantage of the low-rate environment, and many used proceeds from their new low-coupon deals to refinance existing debt.
StanCorp, which inked $250 million of 5% notes due August 2022 at T+350, or 5.08%, was yet another borrower looking to swap out high-coupon debt. The Portland, Ore.-based company tapped the market after a ratings downgrade by Moody’s to Baa2, from Baa1, with a negative outlook on both sides. It plans to use today’s proceeds to redeem its 6.875% notes due Oct. 1, of which there are $250 million outstanding.
American Honda Finance, the Torrence, Calif.-based financing arm of America Honda Motor, today placed $500 million of floating-rate notes due August 2013.
Elsewhere, levels for the CDX IG 18 firmed 5% over the day, to 103.6 bps going into equity close, according to Markit.
And the yield level for the Barclays Investment Grade Index retreated to a low of 2.94% at the end of trading yesterday, a level it first hit on Tuesday. The index crept up to 3.03% a week ago but has been below that level all week.
Meanwhile, the aftermarket trended tighter this session, buoyed by firm market conditions on the back of an upside from the July jobs report, with less activity in newly placed bonds.
Texas Instruments 1.65% notes due 2019, which priced on Monday at T+75, or 1.75% – the lowest levels for a seven-year tenor – were the most active new bonds this session. The issue is trading at a G-spread in the 73 bps area, about one basis point firm of yesterday’s average. The average yield this session, however, has risen to 1.79%, versus 1.74% at pricing, according to MarketAxess.
Campbell Soup 2.5% notes due 2022 – part of the company’s $1.25 billion sale on Monday to finance its $1.55 billion acquisition of Bolthouse Farms – are trading in lower volume this session after heavy activity earlier in the week. Levels have firmed for the issue, to a weighted average of T+94, or 2.51%, versus T+108 or 2.51% reoffer levels. Spreads are also three basis points tighter than on Wednesday. – Gayatri Iyer