The U.S. ABS primary market continued at its moderate pace versus a typical week in the first quarter, pricing roughly $8.3 billion of new-issue supply. Once again, it was a strong week for student loan ABS, with $3.6 billion of supply, edging out the mortgage ABS sector, which saw roughly $3.2 billion.

In addition to Sallie Mae's $2.5 billion offering last week, the sector saw Access Group Inc. complete its second transaction in two weeks, backed by private graduate school loans. Also, Education Lending Inc., Federal Student Finance and Edinvest Inc. brought deals - all three via Citigroup Global Markets.

As per its reputation, Sallie Mae set the pace, quickly completing its fourth FFELP-backed deal of the year via Deutsche Bank Securities and Merrill Lynch jointly. SLMA 2004-4 priced its one-year class at one basis point under three-month Libor and its three-year class at two basis points over Libor. Out on the curve, five-year and seven-year classes priced at nine and 13 basis points over three-month Libor, respectively.

While the home equity sector priced more than $3 billion, $2.5 billion came via two transactions - from AmeriQuest Mortgage and First Franklin Financial.

Early in the week, First Franklin completed a $1.5 billion series 2004-FF3 offering via Goldman Sachs. First Franklin was the tightest print of the sector last week, completing both its 2.3-year A1 and three-year A2B senior classes at 24 basis points over one-month Libor. Its triple-B subs, meanwhile, priced at 225 basis points over Libor.

AmeriQuest Mortgage sold $1 billion of series 2004-R4 paper via the three-way joint leads of Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. AmeriQuest's 2.6-year senior A2B class priced at 40 basis points over Libor, within price guidance. The triple-B floaters priced at 250 basis points over Libor, at the tight end of the talk spectrum.

GreenPoint Bank sold $248 million of HELOC collateral via Wachovia Securities. The series 2004-2 offering, backed by a full Ambac wrap, priced a pair of 2.45-year triple-As at 18 basis points over one-month Libor.

Late in the week, Terwin Mortgage wrapped up a $246 million home equity deal via Merrill Lynch, pricing its 4.5-year senior class at 37 basis points over one-month Libor. Pricing information on the subordinated classes was not disseminated.

While the auto sector was fairly quiet, with just one auto loan ABS making the rounds last week, the market did see some work-intensive offerings. In addition to the $600 million CarMax Inc. 2004-1 offering that priced through Deutsche Bank and Wachovia, Dollar-Thrifty's Rental Car Finance Corp. sold $500 million of Ambac-wrapped notes via Credit Suisse First Boston and Deutsche Bank. Also, Bank of America N.A. broke ground as an auto ABS issuer with one of the more technically complex transactions of the year - the synthetic CARSS 1004-1 (see story, p. 12).

The relative quiet in credit cards continued with just one deal pricing throughout the week. Capital One Financial priced $500 million of five-year floaters at 10 basis points over one-month Libor through joint lead managers Lehman Brothers and JPMorgan Securities.

GE SeaCo put the finishing touches on its Ambac-wrapped shipping container lease deal led by Wachovia. The five-year floater priced at the tight end of guidance, with a 30 basis point coupon to one-month Libor.

Copyright 2004 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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