With another busy year over, European dealers could afford to take a brief moment of respite. The New Year kicked off at an uneventful pace despite expectations for a busy start of the year, with the city of London almost dormant as the U.S. market delayed its opening by a day.

Nonetheless, talk of another eventful year is well underway. Coming early in the year is a whispered Granite deal from Northern Rock's master trust. The issuer has become a sort of ringleader for kicking off the season and, over the past years, has stepped in as debut U.K. issuer in the primary markets. Market sources said that with the deal arena nearly empty and investors still having cash at hand to put to work, this transaction should find some very good pricing. "They are doing the opposite of Spanish issuers who seemed to push heavy in the last two months of the year - the absolute worst timing," a market trader said.

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