While most ABS sectors have so far equaled or outpaced their 2004 year-to-date issuance volumes, the credit-card sector has been conspicuously absent from the party with less than one-third of the issuance seen at this time last year. While theories abound for the dearth of credit card deals, the paltry numbers have left analysts scratching their heads. Some say, however, that the sector will correct itself and even beat last year's $52 billion total.

In a market that is driven mainly by reverse inquiries, Peter DiMartino, head ABS strategist for RBS Greenwich Capital theorized that many investors appear, by necessity, to be paying less attention to cards. "The average, active investment managers are compelled to look at the flows in front of them, hence, they are looking elsewhere for investment opportunities," he said. "The non-deal-driving investor can't sit around waiting for cards...If you're a crocodile and there are no antelope coming by your pond, you're going to have to start eating some zebras," added DiMartino.

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