The asset-backed market showed positive signs of life last week, with first-time issuers and longtime no-shows hitting the block, market sources said.

"We had a few deals this week," remarked one analyst. "Market sentiment remains very positive. There's a good healthy response and demand is pretty good. Spreads in general remain pretty much unchanged from the previous week if not a tad tighter just because supply is coming up but there's not a huge rush of supply at this stage in the market."

Looking at the general picture, the market is expected to maintain a healthy atmosphere.

"We're seeing issuers come to market that we haven't seen in awhile - or brand new issuers that are getting things done," said one source.

Auto Nation Inc., completed a $692 million deal wrapped by MBIA. Auto Nation is considered to be the biggest operator of car dealerships and new auto web sites in the U.S.

Volkswagen AG also came forth with an auto dealer floorplan deal worth $500 million.

"It's not a new a new name to corporate bonds, but certainly Volkswagen is a new name to the U.S. asset-backed market," said one source. "We're seeing a lot of issuers that you normally don't see in the market come to market. That is a sign that investors are receptive to new names, new structures. Happy days are here again so to speak, based on the issuer front."

Although there were attractive conditions seen in the market last week, some sources do expect a slowdown to occur sometime at the end of August due to the scheduled Federal Reserve Board meeting.

"I think with the Fed meeting that we're coming to in the latter part of August, that things will probably cool off a bit," said one source. "Around the particular date that the Fed might move, things might actually remain on the quiet side. Simply, a Lets take a wait and see and approach and see what happens to the rate environment' kind of thing."

Deals That Priced

Looking at the week from 7/26/00 to 8/3/00, the public asset-backed market saw $1.8 billion in new issues.

Worth mentioning was the motorcycle-backed deal brought to market by Harley Davidson/Eaglemark Inc. that help to jumpstart the week. The $228 million transaction was managed by Salomon Smith Barney and rated by both Standard & Poor's Ratings Services and Moody's Investors Service.

The deal was said to have received strong investor demand.

"I heard through the grapevine that Harley's last couple of deals and that this one in particular have done extremely well," said one market source. "The nature of the collateral have very good payment rate and very good collateral performance all the way through. The last two or three deals have done extremely well. So, my hunch is that the most recent one went extremely well."

The Pipeline

At press time, not much was in store for this week. The fact that this is the vacation season is still partly to blame for the slowdown of activity.

"I think its one of these times when you hear about things start to happen and then they just all of sudden pop and hit the screen before you know it kind of the surprise element," one market source said. "The other thing is that it is summer time. I think that your family vacations have us finding a lot less people around. But even so, I think we'll see some supply next week.

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