BARCELONA - This year's Global Asset Securitization Conference in Barcelona began with a bang, although the tone was dampened somewhat by the midweek news of air controller strikes, threatening to keep some attendees beached in Barcelona for longer than initially planned.

Like most conferences these days, cell phones were buzzing in between sessions, though not all calls were for sealing deals or follow ups. In fact, it seemed the only thing players were pricing was their panic tickets home, negotiating earlier flights and other travel-related concerns. The possibility of being stranded in airports somewhat overshadowed any success of the discussions over the past three days, and by lunchtime on day three the halls were nearly empty.

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