The markets opened higher on Friday, following this week’s FOMC meeting and the beginning of earnings season.
This week, earnings season was unofficially kicked off on Wednesday when Alcoa released its quarterly results. The FOMC minutes were also reported on Wednesday, indicating that members were divided on when to raise rates.
Crude oil has a rocky week once again this week, resulting large price swings – which made for a violate week in the energy sector.
- Sacramento Municipal Utility District: Moody’s has upgraded the rating on the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) outstanding $1,873,105,000 electric revenue bonds to Aa3 from A1. The upgrade considers SMUD’s consistently strong management of its financial operations including timely rate-setting as an unregulated utility with no revenue transfer requirement to city or regional governments; an effective risk management program; improved financial metrics; the strong competitive position against regional peers; the improvement in the diverse local area economy; and capably managing the transition of the electric industry in California, including the sourcing of 26% of renewable energy for retail load while maintaining competitive prices.
- City of Annapolis: Moody’s has assigned a Aa2 to the City of Annapolis’ (MD) $11.5 million Public Improvement Bonds, 2015 Series A and $21.3 million Public Improvement Refunding Bonds, 2015 Series B. Concurrently, Moody’s has upgraded to Aa2 from Aa3/positive the rating on $108.8 million of outstanding General Obligation debt. The upgrade to Aa2 reflects the city’s recently improved financial position due to conservative budget and proactive management. The rating also reflects the city’s sizable and diverse tax base, above average demographic profile, and manageable debt burden.
- Oakland-Alameda County: Moody’s has assigned an Aa3 rating to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority’s (CA) Lease Revenue Bonds. The upgrade to Aa3 from A1 of the authority’s lease revenue bonds reflects the underlying credit strength of both the County of Alameda and the City of Oakland, which are the obligors for the security, and the sustained credit improvement of the County of Alameda since the last review. The county maintains an exceptionally strong financial position with one of the highest reserve positions among the largest and most highly-rated counties in the state. The county has also undergone steady economic recovery, which we expect will continue.
- Frazier School District: – Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Frazier School District, PA’s outstanding general obligation debt to Baa3 from Baa1. The downgrade to Baa3 reflects continued structural imbalance resulting in negative fund balance, giving the district limited near-term financial flexibility. The rating also incorporates the district’s high debt burden, limited tax base and weak socioeconomic profile. The Baa1 enhanced rating reflects additional security provided by the state’s post-default enhancement program under Act 150.
- Vassar College: Moody’s downgrades Vassar College’s $253 million in rated debt to Aa3 from Aa2. The outlook is stable. The downgrade to Aa3 reflects our expectation that operations will continue to be imbalanced despite cost reduction strategies implemented by the college. We also expect that elevated endowment draws will lead to a continuation of slower growth of cash and investments than peer colleges.
- City of Lauderhill Water and Sewer Enterprise: Moody’s has downgraded City of Lauderhill Water and Sewer Enterprise from A1 from Aa3. The rating downgrade is based on the system’s inconsistent financial performance. Although coverage improved in fiscal 2014, the cash position weakened significantly, from 116 days cash on hand (DCOH) to 56. The tax base is built-out with weak socioeconomic indices. The city has sole-rate setting authority; however, prior year rate adjustments were not sufficient to provide stable coverage levels. The city’s water and sewer enterprise is being outpaced by state and national peers, who have larger operations and stronger, more consistent debt service coverage. The debt is secured by a first lien pledge of net revenues of the system.
- New Paltz Central School District: Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded New Paltz Central School District, NY’s underlying general obligation (GO) rating to A1 from Aa3. The downgrade to A1 reflects the district’s weakening financial position which will lead to reduced reserves in fiscals 2015 and 2016; a moderately sized and stable tax base with above average income levels benefitting from institutional presence; and a debt and pension burden that will remain manageable despite planned borrowings.
- Storm Lake: Moody’s has downgraded the rating on the City of Storm Lake IA’s outstanding GO debt to A2 from A1, and the rating on the city’s GO debt subject to annual appropriation to Baa1 from A3.The A2 rating reflects the city’s modestly sized and concentrated tax base located in western Iowa (issuer rated Aaa); satisfactory financial operations characterized by adequate reserve levels; elevated debt burden; and manageable pension liabilities.