Roughly $9.5 billion of ABS priced last week, led by three large auto loan securitizations totaling $4.8 billion - half of the week's volume. Additionally, strong demand was seen for home-equity and credit card paper, as the execution for highly liquid assets has reached the point of one-session marketing periods.
Pricing deals last week were General Motors Acceptance Corp., Capital One Financial, DaimlerChrysler, Conseco Finance, American Express, Discover, Option One Mortgage, Equity One, Navistar International, CDC Mortgage and South Carolina Student Loan Corp.
While demand remained strong for the three main collateral types, auto spreads continued to tighten, while home equity spreads remained firm and some softening was seen in the card sector.
GMAC led the way for autos, pricing its second deal of the year at levels tight to initial guidance, one day following its announcement. Option One, minus the frequently used GSE-wrapped class, held firm throughout the marketing process and top-tier credit card issuer Discover cheapened a touch prior to pricing, reflecting investors' concerns over the continued richening of the sector throughout the year.
The best example of the continued strong demand for auto paper can be seen in the GMAC transaction. The $1.795 billion 2002-2 CARAT deal, led via a three-way lead of Banc of America Securities, JPMorgan and Merrill Lynch, priced through the most recent prime captive auto deal from Nissan, which at the time, topped Ford 2002-B by a basis point across the board.
GMAC cleared the market at eight basis points over EDSF for one-year A2 and seven basis points over comparable swaps for both two- and three-year A3 and A4 notes. As has been the case of late, the strongest demand was seen for two-year securities, which moved offered spreads one basis point inward from initial guidance.
DaimlerChrysler priced a similar $1.8 billion of auto supply, at the same levels as GMAC via Deutsche Banc and JPMorgan jointly. Meanwhile Capital One completed a primarily used retail auto loan offering through Deutsche to heavy demand that led to an upsizing to $1.2 billion from the initial $990 million.
In cards, Discover priced $789 million of five-year fixed-rate and American Express sold $850 million of five-year floating-rate notes. Discover priced via sister company Morgan Stanley, while Salomon Smith Barney ran the books for Am Ex, the second offering from each issuer's shelf this year. Am Ex's offering was backed by Optima credit card collateral, as opposed to the standard American Express card, which is a charge, not a credit card, meaning the entire bill is due each month.
While Am Ex priced its seniors at 11 basis points over one-month Libor, Discover got done at 12 over swaps, which was one basis point wider than indicative levels disseminated prior to pricing. Single-A-rated subs for Am Ex also came in one inside of Discover, pricing at 39 over Libor, versus the 40 over swaps print for Discover.
While eyebrows were raised by the April 10 pricing of the Capital One five-year credit card floater at 13 basis points over Libor, it seems as though investors have seen credit cards move as tight as they will go. "Judging from secondary trading, credit card (spreads) are trending outward, not inward." said one investor. "I still like the sector, just not at 10 over Libor (for five-year notes)."