With a bit of lag time built into the moderately paced summer market, rating agencies have issued their own version of summer reading material. Though not exactly the page-turner that Harry Potter proves to be, recent rating agency methodology pieces - targeting synthetic CDOs and CFOs of private equity funds - can accompany any professional's poolside lounge chair.

Moody's Investors Service is set to release an in-depth report regarding synthetic CDOs, one of the fastest growing vehicles in the U.S.-based CDO market, and the agency's approach to rating them. Already a hit in Europe - synthetics comprised 85% of the Moody's-rated European CDO universe last year - the agency found some 30% of the U.S. market it rated last year was made up of synthetic transactions. That's up from a paltry 13% in 2001.

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