With some industry participants getting ready for the holiday vacation, and others packing up their desks, the ABS market remained quiet last week. New issuance trickled in and trading was relatively limited in the secondary market, all symptoms of a typical yearend slowdown, but also signs of further weakening to come.

Bad news on recent unemployment numbers only puts further pressure on depressed consumer ABS conditions, a market source said. The U.S. Labor Department reported last Thursday that initial applications for jobless benefits in the week ending Dec. 6 rose to a seasonally adjusted 573,00, a twenty-six year high. The number of people collecting unemployment benefits is currently at 4.43 million, the Labor Dept. said.

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