The first full week of the New Year was slow to develop, as only top-tier issuers braved the primary market. While $4.7 billion had priced as of market close Thursday, an additional $3.5 billion was on track for a Friday pricing. As was the case in 2002, a multi-billion dollar auto loan securitization kicked off the market, but this time around from General Motors Acceptance Corp., which brought a $3 billion transaction through three lead managers.

Incorporating a 12-month revolving period into the structure, GMAC CARAT 2003-1 offered both fixed- and floating-rate senior tranches. It took until Wednesday for the first deal of the New Year to price. Jumping to a short-lived early lead in the league tables were, Credit Suisse First Boston, JPMorgan Securities and Morgan Stanley split the books three ways.

The other trade of significance to make to complete by Thursday came from home equity lender Option One Mortgage. Coming in at a more manageable $1.6 billion, joint leads Banc of America Securities and Greenwich Capital Markets priced the three-year triple-A A2 floater at 42 basis points over one-month Libor. Down in credit triple-Bs remain under pressure, with the Baa2/BBB+/BBB+ rated M3s clearing at 350 basis points over one-month Libor.

Pending for Friday were a pair of credit card offerings that were all but set to price as of press time from Citibank N.A. and Discover Card. Citibank's first credit card ABS of 2003, introduced Thursday morning quickly caught investors eyes, leading to a 25% increase in size to $1.25 billion. Additionally, spreads were seen coming in at 10 basis points over three-month Libor, at the tight end of guidance of 10 to 11 basis points over.

Discover Card announced Wednesday a six-tranche, multi-maturity 2003-1 floater via Morgan Stanley, awaiting allocations to decide the sizes of the individual tranches. Offered were triple-As with 2.76-year, 3.76-year and 4.76-year tenors and single-As with 2.85, 3.85- and 4.85-year maturities. Roughly $500 million had been allocated for the short-term A1 and B1 classes, with the remaining $1 billion to be determined.

Also set to price Friday, AmeriQuest Mortgage was circulating a $400 million 2003-AR1 trade via UBS Warburg. Three-year triple-A floaters were offered in the high 40 basis point area over one-month Libor, while fixed-rate triple-Bs were seen at 375 to 400 basis points over Swaps.

Underwriter Goldman Sachs was in with a $250 million GSAMP offering, featuring an Ambac wrap. The 2.5-year floating-rate senior class was talked in the 50 basis point area over one-month Libor.

Announced last week, but scheduled for this week, is the $233 million equipment loan and lease ABS from Alter Moneta Receivables LLC, in the market via RBC Dain Rauscher. A joint venture of National Bank of Canada and the Canadian arm of Caisse des Dputs et Consignations, Alter primarily makes loans to trucking or construction concerns. This first-ever ABS from the issuer offered to U.S. investors was making the rounds in the Rule 144A market and features a full XL Capital wrap.

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