The typical quarter-end rush was in full effect last week, with more than $20 billion of U.S. ABS new-issue supply. In all, the market saw offerings in the auto, credit card, home equity and foreign MBS sectors, with more than half of the supply in the mortgage-related sector. In an unprecedented sign, investors saw multiple transactions from three issuers, as well as a pair of different dealer shelves offering bonds backed by the same originator.
As of press time last week, U.S. ABS supply sat at more than $155 billion, up from $115 billion through the end of 1Q03. Of this year's total, $81 billion, or 53%, has been in the mortgage ABS sector, versus the $62 billion over the same period last year.
As of press time, AmeriQuest Mortgage had priced one offering from its Argent Securities wholesale origination shelf and was set to price another, while it was simultaneously marketing an offering from its standard retail shelf. Both Countrywide Home Loans and GMAC Mortgage had priced home equity and HELOC deals last week. And as if that wasn't enough, GMAC also sold an auto dealer floorplan ABS.
In addition, two weeks after announcing it had reached agreements with two Wall Street firms to sell up to $6 billion of collateral, principal finance shelves from Barclays Capital and Goldman Sachs each completed transactions, backed by loans originated by New Century Financial. UBS priced a shelf transaction backed by home equity loans originated by WMC Mortgage. Citibank's mortgage shelf, CitiFinancial Mortgage Securities, sold $520 million of fixed- and floating-rate supply via Citigroup Global Markets.
Thornburg Mortgage sold $1 billion of 2004-1 fixed- and floating-rate paper via lead manager Bear Stearns. Fremont Mortgage completed its $671 million home equity ABS it offered from a shelf owned by sole lead manager RBS Greenwich Capital.
While supply in other sectors may have lacked, strong demand led to numerous upsizings in the auto and credit card sectors. Foreign MBS was strong last week, with two Australian-originated and one U.K.-originated loan deals pricing.
In autos, GMAC's Swift shelf got the week started, pricing $500 million of five-year floaters via ABN AMRO and Morgan Stanley. The single-tranche offering resisted the temptation to increase the offering's size, instead pricing at eight basis points over one-month Libor. The decision not to upsize was based on the issuer's decision to "clearly communicate its issuance plans to the market and stick with them," said one source close to the deal.
Hertz Rent-A-Car tapped the term market for the first time last week (see related story, p. 8), pricing $600 million of MBIA-wrapped fleet lease ABS through Lehman Brothers, following an increase in size from $500 million. With the strong demand primarily at the front end of the curve, Hertz added a $100 million floating-rate option to investors interested in the 2.5-year senior class. The floating-rate A1 class priced at nine basis points over one-month Libor with the fixed-rate A2 class pricing to yield 12 basis points over swaps. Four- and five-year fixed-rate A3 and A4 classes, meanwhile, priced to yield 17 and 22 basis points over swaps, each in line with initial guidance.
In credit cards, Providian Financial also wrapped up a first - its first un-wrapped offering from the Gateway trust (see related story, p. 1) - and in turn the first natural double-A class the credit card sector has seen. Providian's offering, led by Deutsche Bank Securities, fared well in the primary market, pricing at or through guidance while also increasing the deal to $750 million from $500 million.
Three-year triple-As priced at 23 basis points over one-month Libor, with the first-ever double-A pricing at 50 basis points over, 27 back of the triple-As. Both were in line with price talk. The more traditional single-A and triple-B classes, however, priced through guidance by 10 to 15 basis points. The three-year single-A priced at 90 basis points over Libor, with the triple-Bs pricing at 185 basis points over.
In foreign MBS, the wave of supply continues from all fronts. Commonwealth Bank of Australia and AMP Bank each sold Aussie MBS deals, totaling $1.9 billion in U.S. dollar-denominated supply. CBA's Medallion Global Trust sold $1.5 billion of a 2.67-year A1 class at 13 basis points over three-month Libor, one basis point through guidance, via Deutsche Bank, while the less familiar AMP's Progress Trust priced $400 million of 2.8-year senior 1A notes at 18 basis points over three-month Libor, also via Deutsche Bank.
Abbey National plc's Holmes Financing No. 8 completed its mammoth $7.4 billion (U.S.$ equivalent) U.K. MBS via Barclays Capital, Lehman Brothers and UBS jointly. Of the total, $4.1 billion was offered to investors in the U.S. and overseas in U.S. dollar tranches.