The U.S. ABS market's first full trading week of 2004 was, while slow, eventful nonetheless. Although just four new issues had priced as of Thursday's market close, for a total of $3.08 billion, market clearing spread levels showed the impact of pent-up demand, resulting from more than two weeks of relative inactivity. Activity is expected to pick up in the next two weeks - particularly on the home equity front - ahead of the winter conferences.

The year started off on a very positive note with the first transaction of 2004 pricing extremely tight down the credit curve. The $950 million series 2004-A home equity offering from Centex Corp., led by Credit Suisse First Boston, priced five to 10 basis points inside of comparable late 2003 deals for triple-A paper and 100 basis points tighter for triple-B rated paper.

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