Friday's news concerning the possibility of credit controls rescued, at least momentarily, an utterly demoralized and fast-sinking bond market.
Early Friday morning, the new long Treasury bond returned 12.91 percent, while long triple-a-rated telephone bonds returned 13.88 percent. The widely used guide for the municipal market, the Bond Buyers 20 Bond Index, set two records: the largest move in one week, 71 basis points (a basis point is one one-hundredth of a percentage point) and the loftiest level ever, 8.46 percent. Commercial banks raised their prime lending rates from 15 3/4 percent to 16 1/4 percent or 16 1/2 percent.
After release of two stories late Friday morning concerning controls, the market -- in a burst of enthusiasm, short covering and great expectations -- rocketed upwards in moves of one point or more. By one o'clock, long Treasuries had gained close to 8 ponts, while the new twelves of 1987, were up 3 3/4 points. Unheard-of price movements had occurred in just 90 minutes.
In the afternoon, the news released by the Commerce Department of the strong growth in durable goods deflated the rally, and prices began to recede. By the end of the day, the bond markets were within one or 2 points of their lows. The great controlls rally had run its course.
New issues were badly received during the week. Two new corporate issues set records for the shortest time in syndicate. The Appalachian Power issue was in syndicate only 4 hours before it was freed up (broken) for trading, and the Gulf Power issue was in syndicate only 90 minutes before it, too, was broken.
The implications of the past few weeks' events are most serious. Henry Kaufman, the economist from Salomon Brothers, pointed out the prospects for inflation and the economy and their impact on the bond markets in a speech on Thursday. The speech alone is credited with knocking 2 points off the Treasury market. Kaufman suggested declaring a "national emergency" to deal with the crisis.
For instance, in the municipal area more note issues will be offered. In fact, a pure floating-rate note with no floor or ceiling is a distinct possibility. The interest rate would be reset monthly or in some other time-frame.
Two-year and 3-year municipal issues are a possibility just as recent corporates have been issued.
On large revenue issues, thoughts of cutting the size of the term bonds and then having one or two intermediate maturities, all in a single loan, is another possibility.
In the corporate area, issues within 10 years will be used with the possibility of some European-style offerings -- a 15-year bond with a sinking fund.
The convertible bond will make a comeback in the corporate area. Converts would be 600 to 700 basis points cheaper than if straight debt were issued.
The Treasury will offer a 5-year, 2 1/2-month note on Tuesday in minimum denominations of $1,000, and a one-year bill on Wednesday in minimum denominations of $10,000 in book-entry form only.
These issues may be purchased at the U.S. Treasury here or at any of the Federal Reserve banks or their branches.