NEW YORK - In what seems to be a rather somber start of a holiday season, MBIA hosted a holiday party aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid last Wednesday, where Gary Dunton, president of the insurance company, drew parallels of a strong, brave and resilient ship to a strong, brave and resilient market.

The party attracted about 200 people at its peak, only half of the amount expected. The windowless room, which granted access to the flight deck, was well lit by the faces of market players like Credit Suisse First Boston's Joe Donovan, head of ABS, and Trisha Hazelwood, head of the syndicate. And the room, filled with mellow guitar music, was buzzing with conversation about the latest fallen angel, Enron.

Though a seemingly quiet gathering, it was an appropriate setting for the times. Commissioned in 1943, the U.S.S. Intrepid sailed the four corners of the world and survived World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The ship has also endured several kamikaze attacks; on November 25, 1944 two simultaneous, bomb-laden, kamikazies struck the ship killing 64 and wounding 81. However, after fighting for its life for three hours after the attacks, the ship survived.

According to Dunton, the structured finance market will indeed persevere the trying events of 2001 and will surely endure the road that lies ahead.

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