The curse of the long bond market continued yet another week. New bond offerings ran aground on the rocks of buyer resistance even before the Federal Reserve raised the discount rate to 11 percent on Thursday.
One cannot help but feel sympathetic to the investors who purchased the $7.5 billion of two-year and four-year Treasury notes during the past two weeks: They have suffered sizable losses even before the issues have been paid for.
Of the seven new corporate issues, only the $200 million Bell Canada debentures, which returned 13.375 percent, were a roaring success. One salesman commented that the issue "evaporated" in 10 minutes. The reason for the super reception was that this highgrade issue was noncallable for 15 years. This factor was so appealing that one institutional buyer is rumored to have purchased between $50 million and $100 million of the deal.
The dud of the week was the $250 million South Central Bell Telephone issue that originally was offered at 12.97 percent. After being only 30 percent sold, the issue broke down in price about 4 points to return 13.40 percent.
The tax-exempt market faired just as poorly. Prices had to be cut to move merchandise. The $850 million Pennsylvania tax anticipation notes that originally were offered to retail buyers to return 7 percent went nowhere. By the second day, with approximately half the issue still unsold, these short-term notes were being offered at 7 3/4 percent.
With only three months left in 1980, bond investors should start utilizing their bond losses to their advantage through tax swapping. Although tax swapping may be carried out through any type of fixed-income security, it is mostly accomplished through tax-exempt bonds.
The volatility of the markets and the low bond inventory of dealers necessitates that investors do not delay until year end, but begin now.
To have a long-term capital loss, you must own a bond more than one year. If you own it for a year or less, you have a short-term loss.
A long-term capital loss may be used to offset or shelter any already realized long-term or short-term capital gains on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
An individual many only use $3,000 of capital losses against ordinary income each year. These losses may be taken in two ways:
You may use a short-term loss of up to $3,000 against ordinary income on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
With long-term losses, you may offset $3,000 of ordinary income, but you need $6,000 in long-term losses to do so.
One feature in taking bond losses is that the proceeds may be reinvested the same day in different bonds so that you will lose no income while making the transaction.
Also, odd lots may be sold and consolidated into larger holdings. More instate bonds may be purchased to increase local tax exemption.