Just $4.5 billion of domestic new-issue ABS supply priced in the holiday-shortened U.S. primary market last week. Assuming trades that had yet to price as of press time, U.S. volume for the week was at $7.9 billion. Supply was fairly balanced last week, all assets represented in one way, shape or form.

Earnings news and secondary trading overshadowed the primary, following disappointing earnings from AmeriCredit Corp., the largest independent auto lender in the U.S. and one of the most ABS-reliant issuers in the market. More of the same is expected this week, as five issuers, including The Metris Companies, are slated to announce Q402 results.

The primary market saw a wrapped auto deal, home equity paper from numerous names including a mammoth global RMBS, a pair of student loan transactions and even a reopening of an outstanding credit card deal. Additionally, equipment supply came from two first-time issuers and a licensing agreement securitization is circulating in the Rule 144A market.

U.K. mortgage lender Northern Rock's Granite issuance trust sold $4.5 billion (equivalent) of British mortgage-backed paper in a multi-tranche, multi-currency structure. In the market for most of this month, the deal priced last Wednesday via Merrill Lynch & Co. and Salomon Smith Barney. The indicative three-year triple-A rated U.S. tranche priced at the tight end of guidance, with a coupon of 19 basis points over three-month Libor - a touch outside of the historical tight spreads seen in mid 2002.

Onyx Acceptance Corp. kicked off the week Tuesday, with a $400 million fixed-rate offering via Credit Suisse First Boston. The first ABS of the year for Onyx went smoothly, pricing the next day at the tight end of price guidance. But Onyx was the only auto deal to price and just the third in three weeks.

In mortgage-related ABS, issuance trusts of both CSFB and Chase Manhattan Bank brought acquired collateral-backed home-equity deals. CSFB actually had two such deals. Home Equity Asset Trust priced $625 million of floating-rate 2003-1 notes and Home Equity Mortgage Trust was still marketing a $170 million of, paper backed entirely of second lien collateral.

There was a credit card pricing last week...well sort of. Citibank reopened its 2002-A10 10-year senior deal, which priced last Dec. 9. Led by a reverse inquiry, Citi sold an additional $300 million of floating-rate notes, via Salomon, right at the coupon rate of 25 basis points over one-month Libor.

With analysts calling for a major spike in student loan ABS this year, the two leading issuers in the sector - Sallie Mae and Nelnet - each brought deals to market, although neither had priced as of late Thursday. Sallie Mae, with a $2 billion offering via Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.

On a side note, underwriter Morgan Stanley has had a hand in one billion-dollar-plus deal each week in the new year (Discover Card, GMAC).

Nelnet announced a $1 billion student loan deal via the joint leads of Banc of America Securities and Deutsche Bank. Nelnet 2003-1 broke late in the week, however, and was viewed as this week's business.

As reported last week (see ASR 1/20/03 p.4), and after two-month delay, Interpool Intermodal Chassis Issuance 2003-1 was officially unveiled by sole lead manager Wachovia Securities. The MBIA-wrapped deal consists of a pair of five-year floating-rate classes, each rated triple-A. The deal will market throughout this week, with pricing scheduled for Friday.

Known more for the tight-fitting denim look of the 1980's, apparel maker Guess? Inc. is in the asset-backed Rule 144A market with a $75 million license agreement royalty securitization via JPMorgan Securities. Rated in the triple-B area, the single-tranche, fixed-rate offering is being marketed with a 6% coupon, sources said.

Guess currently has over 250 licensing agreements, mostly for designer eyewear and handbags, 86% of which are domestic and the remainder of the agreements are European.

Equipment Finance concern Alter Moneta, owned by National Bank of Canada and CDP Capital, completed its first-ever securitization in the U.S. last week. The $218 million 1.3-year transaction, sold via RBC Dain Rauscher, priced to yield 100 basis points over EDSF, out from initial guidance in the 93 basis point area. Cited for the widening were the first-time issuer status of Alter, as well as the in transition status of the portfolio. Proceeds from the transaction are being used to finance the acquisition of the equipment finance division of HSBC/Household.

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