As the first half of the year rapidly approaches, issuers rushed to the U.S. ABS primary market last week, pricing $17.5 billion in new issue supply. Not surprisingly, with the Fed expected to begin its tightening cycle this week, real estate ABS had another busy week with over $13 billion circulating at week's end.

Countrywide Home Loans came in force with a $4.6 billion home equity offering and a smaller HELOC transaction. The 2.9-year split-rated subordinate notes priced at 300 basis points over one-month Libor at a discount compared to guidance in the 450 to 475 point range. Meanwhile, M7 and M8 notes were 10 and five points wide at 200 and 220, respectively. At press time, Countrywide was also expected to price a $1.25 billion HELOC floater on Friday. Both tranches were expected to price wide at 25 basis points over one-month Libor versus talk in the 23 basis point area over Libor.

New Century Financial hit the market with a $1.87 billion home equity offering via Morgan Stanley and UBS. The senior/subordinated floater continued the widening trend with triple-A rated 2.86-year notes coming in at 37 basis points over on-month Libor compared to expectations in the 35 basis point area. However, triple-B plus rated 5.52-year notes priced five points inside guidance at 195 over one-month Libor.

Also in real estate, GMAC-Residential Funding Corp. tapped the market for $604 million of paper from its RFMSII shelf via RBS Greenwich Capital and wrapped by MBIA. The three-year triple-A rated notes priced wide at 60 points over swaps, versus talk in the 45 to 50 basis point range. The 3.19-year floating-rate triple-As came in line with guidance at 23 basis points over one-month Libor.

AmeriQuest Mortgage priced $775.85 million of paper through Citigroup Global Markets, JP Morgan Securities and UBS jointly - its seventh securitization of retail originations this year. In addition, the mortgage lender was still shopping another $305 million offering from its Quest shelf via Credit Suisse First Boston.

Terwin Mortgage came for $263.67 million via Merrill Lynch, while Redwood Trust issued $319.5 million of HELOC paper, wrapped by Ambac and led by Morgan Stanley, which priced at 21 basis points over one-month Libor.

allie Mae was the sole student loan issuer last week, with its $3.03 billion in FFELP-backed notes accounting for the entirety of SLABS volume. Deutsche Bank Securities, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley led the sixth traditional FFELP deal for Sallie May. One-year A1's priced flat to three-month Libor, with three-year A2 notes pricing at four over. The five-year triple-A rated class A3 came in on target at 10 basis points over three-month Libor, and seven-year A4 paper clearing at 15 basis points over Libor, at the tight end of guidance. The 8.95-year also came in inside of guidance at 17 basis points over three-month-Libor versus talk in the 18 basis point area over.

Auto volume totaled roughly $1.2 billion last week, with a focus on the subprime sector. Franklin Auto hit with $250 million backed by retail loans via Citigroup Capital Markets. The MBIA-wrapped triple-A rated notes came in on target with the 2.5-year pricing at 14 basis points over swaps. Prestige Auto priced a $106 million offering via Banc One Capital Markets and JPMorgan Securities pricing late in the week, backed by a full FSA wrap.

World Omni Financial came with an $840 million fixed-rate offering, backed by prime collateral, led by Banc of America Securities and Wachovia Securities. After pricing the short-dated notes at seven basis points over EDSF and nine basis points over swaps, both within guidance, spreads widened at the far end of the curve. Three-year A4 notes priced at 18 basis points over swaps versus talk at 12 basis point area over.

Continental Airlines continued shopping a $299.6 million EETC last week, for its ExpressJet unit, which is expected to linger for some time.

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