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US Credit Markets Absorbed $3.33 Billion Of New Issuance Monday

By Patrick McGee Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Corporate-bond issuers were able to take advantage of favorable market conditions in the U.S. Monday before newfound optimism fizzled out in the afternoon. No fewer than seven deals hit the U.S. credit markets as issuers waiting for an opportune moment finally got their chance to meet investors willing to take some risk. High-grade new issuance totaled $3.33 billion Monday. Last week, due to heightened concerns boiling in Europe and a holiday interruption, no high-yield borrowers had entered the primary market. One syndicate manager said more deals are ready in the pipeline for the remainder of this week, but he noted credit didn't perform as well as equities Monday, so it is unclear how much will come through the system. "I imagine we're back in day-to-day mode for the time being," he said. Tesco PLC (TSCO.LN, TSCDY), the UK retail-grocery giant, was the largest corporate issuer Monday with a $1 billion private placement. The two-part borrowing included 2% coupon, three-year bonds priced to yield 2.036%, reflecting a risk premium to Treasurys of 165 basis points, and 2.70% coupon, five-year notes priced to yield 2.723%, offering a spread of 180 basis points over Treasurys. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. The bonds were rated A3 by Moody's Investors Service and A-minus by Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings. Knoxville, Tenn.-based Scripps Networks Interactive Inc (SNI) marketed $500 million in five-year notes priced to yield 2.726%, for a risk premium to Treasurys of 180 basis points, according to a person familiar with the deal. Canadian Pacific Railway Co. (CP, CP.T) sold a $500 million deal evenly structured with 10-year and 30-year maturities. The 10-year portion was sold at 2.75 percentage points over Treasurys and the 30-year bonds were being sold at 3.0 percentage points over Treasurys, according to a person familiar with the deal. Long-term investors also mopped up a rare 50-year bond deal from DTE Energy Co. (DTE). The bonds featured a 6.50% coupon. Favorable conditions allowed the Detroit, Mich., electric-and-natural-gas provider to borrow $280 million, compared with an original projection of $150 million. The bonds are junior subordinated debentures due in 2061, with credit ratings of Baa3 from Moody's Investors Service, an equivalent BBB-minus from Standard & Poor's, and a BB-plus rating--just below investment grade--from Fitch Ratings. National Fuel Gas Co. (NFG) increased the size of its 10-year bond offering by $150 million to $500 million. The 4.90% coupon bonds were priced to yield 4.917%, a spread to Treasurys of 295 basis points. According to data provider Dealogic, that coupon is the lowest ever on a 10-year deal for National Fuel. Other deals in Monday's market included a $250 million offering from PG&E Corp. (PCG), also known as Pacific Gas & Electric, which priced 30-year bonds at a yield of 4.521%--its lowest ever for that maturity. AGCO Corp. (AGCO) also sold $300 million of 5.875% coupon bonds maturing in 10 years, at par. That too is the issuer's lowest yield ever at that tenor, according to Dealogic. -By Patrick McGee, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2382;

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