Citigroup Global Markets grabbed the largest market share among U.S. ABS CDO underwriters in the first quarter of this year, according to data maintained by Thomson Financial. Citigroup rose up from third place at yearend 2005 and barely squeaked past Merrill Lynch, which some say has suffered from the loss of several key staff members earlier this year. Citigroup brought 14 deals to market totaling $6.8 billion, earning it the leading 15.2% market share. Citigroup had ranked third in the fourth quarter of last year with an 11.2% market share and 8 deals totaling $3.5 billion.

Overall, U.S. ABS CDO issuance in the first quarter totaled $44.8 billion and 102 deals - a 42% rise in dollar volume over the previous quarter's 81 deals totaling $31.5 billion.

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