Much attention lately has been paid to the prospective performance of subprime mortgages originated to borrowers this year. The 2005 vintage, some say, consists of borrowers that either needed to refinance to avoid payment shock from earlier originated mortgages, or, borrowers that couldn't get a loan until lending standards reached down far enough to scrape them off the credit barrel's bottom.

But, in a report last week, Bear Stearns sought to refute anecdotal evidence of worse performance, at least so far, among the 2005 vintage. "Intuitively, we see little reason to expect weaker initial performance by 2005 borrowers, as collateral characteristics are comparable to the 2004 vintage and primary mortgage rates have stayed stubbornly low," Bear researchers wrote.

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