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.

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