The U.S. ABS primary market priced a healthy $7 billion in an abbreviated week that also witnessed whispers of a slow-down in the Federal Reserve's "measured pace" of rate hikes. Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher reportedly said the Fed is in the eighth inning of a nine-inning tightening cycle, and gave the impression the Fed may consider halting the increases after its next meeting.
The primary market priced a cellular tower lease deal, two student loan deals, a credit card deal and three home equity deals. Home equity offerings from Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. and Meritage Homes Corp. and a student loan deal from Access Group, Inc. were still on the table as of press time.
The largest deal was a $1.89 billion cellular tower lease deal from Crown Castle International Corp., which priced the Friday before last (see ASR, 5/23/05). The deal consists of five tranches, two of which are rated triple-A and all of which have a five-year average life. The $949 million A-tranche priced 46 basis points over swaps, and the $250 million AF-tranche priced 38 basis points over one-month Libor. Morgan Stanley was the lead manager and sole book-runner on the deal.
Two student loan deals priced last week, one a $1 billion deal from The CIT Group backed by Federal Family Education Loan Program consolidation loans, marking that company's debut in the sector, led by Citigroup Global Markets and Credit Suisse First Boston. The three-year tranche of the deal priced two basis points over three-month Libor, inside of guidance set in the two to three basis point range. The seven-year tranche priced at nine basis points over three-moth Libor, once again on the inner rim of guidance set at nine to ten basis points over Libor. The pricing of those two tranches was one basis point wider than the most recent comparable offering from Sallie Mae.
The other student loan deal to price was a $671 million transaction from Access Group led by Deutsche Bank Securities. That deal was also backed by FFELP collateral and priced one basis point inside of guidance for three of its tranches. The five-year tranche priced at nine basis points over three-month Libor, the 8.5-year tranche priced at 11 basis points over and the 12-year tranche priced at 15 basis points over. Access Group was also marketing a $381 million deal, backed by private loan collateral as ASR went to press last week.
Capital One Financial was in the market with a $500 million fixed-rate credit card deal led by Barclays Capital and CSFB. The five-year deal priced on top of guidance to yield three basis points over swaps.
The home equity sector was led by a $1.69 billion deal from Carrington Mortgage, led by Bear Stearns and Citigroup. The one-year tranche priced at eight basis points over one-month Libor, the two-year at 16 basis points over and the 3.25-year at 25 basis points over. CSFB also priced its own $1 billion dollar home equity deal,which priced at 27 basis points over one-month Libor for the 2.31-year tranche and 43 basis points over one month Libor for the 4.72-year tranche.
Rounding out the home equity sector was a $441 million fixed and floating deal from C-BASS and led by Merrill Lynch. The deal, backed by subprime MBS, its one-year tranche pricing at 10 basis points over one-month Libor, one basis point outside guidance. The three- and six- year tranches also priced one basis point outside guidance at 23 basis points and 35 basis points over one-month Libor respectively. For the fixed portion, the three- and six-year tranches priced at 27 basis points and 42 basis points over swaps respectively.
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