As the turmoil intensifies in the European asset-backed market, it's beginning to look as if not even the titans of the monolines are immune to subprime aftershock. The monoline industry, which recently saw some of its major players reporting significant third-quarter losses, is the latest target in the firing line. And now, as the market remains plagued with fear, all eyes are on the monolines' future actions.

"They need to maintain confidence," said one analyst for a European-based investment bank. "While monoline credit profiles haven't changed dramatically, the ratings agencies are keener to pull the trigger sooner than later, as they are currently viewed as being slow to downgrade others in the recent past."

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