It was business as usual for European market dealers as a number of transactions rushed to price in the brief repose before the New Year's Eve slowdown. That said, a busy start of the year is expected, as already a number of deals have begun to populate the 2004 pipeline.

"[Last] year has been defined by the expensive consumer markets," said one market analyst. "There's been a lot of demand for consumer portfolios. In 2001, even before Sept. 11, there was a shift in focus to fundamental strategies in consumer economy - a shift away from CDOs and overwhelming demand for residential mortgages."

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