The CMBS calendar was alive and kicking last week as deals attempted to be first, or at least not last, off the slate. Last Monday's JPMC issue was a no-brainer because the GSEs had already wrapped up the triple-A 10-year, pricing that portion at +57 basis points. Investors were discouraged with their essential exclusion from the transaction, but in the end, it only helped to boost interest in the rest of the calendar.
Another wrinkle came at the hands of GMAC's conduit cancellation (See story p.1). The technical snafu has yet to reveal itself in timing for this issue, but in the meantime, other transactions took their place in line. First Union priced its $960 million conduit via Wachovia, Merrill Lynch, and Greenwich Capital on Thursday. The 10-year tranche was done at +55 bps, at least a basis point through the +56-58 bps guidance and official price talk at time of launch.
Despite the number of deals still in the pipeline, spread pressure did not seem to be an issue for FUNB or any other deal, but it would certainly help to price sooner rather than later while investors are still around. While that puts a face on the amount of investor interest (the triple-A 10-year tranche was said to be two times oversubscribed), the bigger surprise came with the triple-B tranches. Tagged at +130-35, +140-45 and +180-85 basis points for the BBB+/Baa1, BBB/Baa2, and BBB-/Baa3 tranches, respectively, in premarketing, all tranches saw a nickel of tightening at the launch. The deal was initially rated by S&P only, but the release of Moody's presale report Tuesday brought their marquee into the fold as well. This can be cited as a reason for the better mezzanine-class levels as CDO-investors have been label-shopping for the Moody's stamp.
Lastly, the Lehman/UBS $1.2 billion conduit priced on Wednesday. The issue, initially expected in the morning, was reworked to expand the A1 and A2 classes into A1 through A5. The issue only has 8% multifamily exposure but 40% office allocation, allowing for some concession on the 10-year class that came at +59 bps.