Like a well-oiled machine, the US asset-backed securities CDO market in 2005 grew by more than 66% percent, fed in large part by a robust housing market, hungry investors - and oiled by a benevolent Federal Reserve, historically speaking. Total issuance in the sector reached a record 359 deals totaling $154.5 billion, compared with 2004's 251 deals and $92.8 billion of issuance, according to data maintained by Thomson Financial.

The order of ABS CDO underwriters shuffled in 2005, a year of tight, difficult-to-source collateral and heightened concern in regard to ballooning exposure to the residential mortgage market. But demand among investors was certainly high - three of the top five underwriters last year were able to not only meet it, but also able to maintain enough market share to keep from slipping below those ranks in 2005.

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