With the year rapidly coming to a close, the league-table race has become too close to call, as Salomon Smith Barney and Credit Suisse First Boston grapple for supremacy. While CSFB has hardly slacked, Salomon has been on a tear in recent weeks and it currently looks as though Salomon will edge out its rival when the dust settles and reclaim what it had owned for the past two years.

After claiming the top spot following the third quarter CSFB held a slight edge through the first two months of the quarter. Salomon, in turn, had pulled to a tie by early December. From there, Salomon unleashed its big guns, pricing $2.85 billion of Citibank credit card paper as well as large deals from CNH Equipment and DaimlerChrysler's Carco since the start of the month.

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