The summer slowdown was in full effect since ASR last printed on Aug. 20, as weekly issuance totaled $4.3 billion and $1.82 billion for the week of Aug. 20 and Aug. 27, respectively. Last week was definitely the slower of the two, as many participants took advantage of a Monday holiday to lengthen summer vacation plans.

The week of Aug. 20 did see some significant issuance, however, as deals priced from Nissan Motor, GMAC, NovaStar, MBNA and GMAC-RFC, as well as some smaller but notable 144A offerings.

Last week saw the pricing of a large self-led offering from a vehicle of Credit Suisse First Boston, which pushed CSFB to the top of the ABS League tables (See story page 6) and a mid-sized home-equity offering, which pushed Lehman Brothers into a tie for third place. Also two new issues priced in the private Rule 144A market.

Prior to the official slowdown, Nissan priced a $1.225 billion retail auto-loan securitization to strong demand that saw spreads come in at the tightest levels ever versus big-three benchmark paper. The series 2001-C deal, led by JPMorgan, priced at the tight end of initial guidance to yield five basis points under for the money market tranche as well as 11 basis points over EDSF for the one-year, 12 basis points and 11 basis points over two- and three-year swaps, respectively.

Yield spreads for this offering were as tight as two basis points cheap to comparable Ford paper, priced just the week before, sources close to the deal noted.

Also the week of Aug. 13, General Motors Acceptance Corp. priced a $1 billion single-tranche wholesale dealer floorplan receivables-backed offering via the joint leads of Banc One and Deutsche Banc. The issue, from the company's SWIFT issuance vehicle, priced at par with a floating-rate coupon of eight basis points over one-month Libor for the 2.79-year offering.

In the credit card sector, MBNA priced two subordinated offerings from its de-linked MBNAseries issuance program. The benchmark issuer sold $250 million of five-year single-A rated floating-rate B2 paper via Salomon Smith Barney with a coupon of one-month Libor plus 36 basis points. Also, $250 million of five-year triple-B rated floaters were sold via Lehman, with a coupon of 105 basis points over Libor.

Additionally, NovaStar priced $788 million of home-equity loan paper via First Union, Oakwood Homes sold $204 million of manufactured housing-backed noted via CSFB and GMAC-RFC sold $425 million of a high loan-to value deal via Bear Stearns.

The following week, issuance slowed to a near-halt, with less than $2 billion pricing during the holiday-shortened week. Last Friday fixed-income markets closed at 1400 ET, in observance of Memorial Day.

The most significant offering was a self-led offering from CSFB's ABSC issuance shelf, for $1.2 billion of floating-rate home equity product originated primarily by New Century Financial. The offering saw slight softening as investor presence was notably thin. The largest class, $1.101 billion of senior A1 tranche, with a 2.69-year average life, priced with a coupon of 27 basis points over one-month Libor.

As of press time, Lehman was marketing a $500 million home-equity deal for Bayview, which had yet to price. The largest tranche, $344 million of triple-A rated senior was premarketing at levels of 30 to 31 basis points over one-month Libor.

The downtime allowed for the private placement Rule 144A market to heat up, with three deals of significance pricing over the past two weeks.

The first, a $164 million timeshare receivables-backed offering from Trendwest Resorts, priced via the lead of Banc One. Also, $36 million of a vehicle fleet lease-backed offering priced from Leasing Associates Inc., also via the lead of Banc One. Business Loan Express was working on selling $85 million of SBA-guaranteed small business loan-backed paper late last week via the lead of First Union, but as of press time no pricing was finalized.

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