In the midst of the winter ABS conference season, primary activity slowed last week. The presence of several large offerings, however, kept volume levels respectable. Through last Thursday, the U.S. ABS market had priced $8 billion, with an additional $1.5 billion hoping to wrap up in Friday's session.

While real estate ABS continued its unusually strong January, pricing more than $25 billion for the year's first month, versus nearly $15 billion in January 2003, the credit card and auto loan sectors continued to sputter. The student loan sector closed a strong month by completing a large transaction.

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