There was moderate issuance in the asset-backed market last week - somewhere north of $6 billion, said one trader - with deals pricing, despite the continued see-saw that plagued the equity markets.
Alongside rallying Treasurys, swaps moved out and spreads were close behind, said market sources.
In the secondary, fixed rate cards were out six points on the week, while floaters remained unchanged. A two-year piece of Discover MT 99-1A was trading at 63 over over the index, compared with 58 the week before (see Bellwether p. 4).
"Up until midweek, it's been an easy enough play," a trader said. "The equity markets sold off, the Nasdaq rallied, and that was driving us all week. We saw Treasurys rally and a flight to quality trade."
Ford Motor Co., unarguably a quality name, was forced to widen its $2.7 billion transaction - though in line with market conditions.
"Nothing priced terribly," the trader said. "The Ford deal did widen but not in any way different than the widening in the market in general. It priced solidly though it widened."
Sallie Mae priced a student loan-backed deal, managed by Merrill Lynch and Salomon Smith Barney. The deal executed in line with market conditions.
"That priced the way we've seen floaters price recently," said a market source. "It was talked for the short tranche, eight to nine, and ended up pricing on the tight end at eight. The seven-year piece was talked 18 to 20 and ended up pricing at 20."
In the pipeline at press time, J. P. Morgan was bringing a deal from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The $1 billion deal, structured as a 3.3-year pass-through, is backed by Australian residential mortgages.
The deal features a "step up coupon in year seven", which basically ends the deal at that point, said a source at the company.
"We've seen very heavy demand for the deal," the source said. "We're getting very, very strong interest."
Also in the pipeline, First Union Capital Markets was set to bring the MoneyStore's $225 million small business loan portfolio to market.
Metropolitan Mortgage Funding was showing investors a home-equity deal worth $145 million. The company was forced to widen its guidance, according to published reports.
Out of the equipment sector, UniCapital Corp was prepping a $300 million deal. The fixed-rate transaction will be wrapped by Ambac. Advanta Corp was also said to be working on an equipment deal, $400 million in size.
Deals that Priced
Home equity issuers were certainly a driving force last week, with deals from big name, quality issuers Residential Funding Corp., Chase Funding, Delta Funding, and American Business Financial Services.
From the equipment lease sector, Case New Holland, priced a $1.1 billion deal in five parts (see profile p. 6).
In credit cards, MBNA sold $750 million in bonds, $637 through a reverse inquiry, according to reports. The A-1 class notes priced at 11.5 basis points over the one-month Libor.
Metris brought a $600 million credit card deal, upsized from $500 million. The three-part transaction was managed by Chase Securities. The five-year, $447 A-1 class priced 30 basis points over the one-month Libor, at the tight end of talk. The five-year, $62 million B-1 class priced at 68 over the one month Libor, a bit wide of the mid 60's talk.