Investors were pleasantly surprised by the hidden value they discovered in the asset-backed securities market last week, when a $649.7 million Ambac Assurance Corp.-wrapped home-equity transaction from Advanta Corp. priced at surprisingly cheap spreads.

"This is the best value I've seen in this market in many years," said Michael Hoeh, head portfolio manager at Dreyfus Corp. "I don't think I've seen anything price that cheap in a while for fundamentally very attractive securities."

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