For a brief moment, January threatened to turn into a lollygagging month for ABS issuance, shortened by two holiday workweeks and the pending American Securitization Forum conference in Las Vegas. Then the AmeriCredit Corp.'s $1.2 billion transaction, secured by auto loans, came roaring across trading desks.

"The thing that was most surprising was the pricing on the AmeriCredit auto deal," said one professional, because its subprime collateral achieved spread levels close to that of prime auto loans. The transaction helped get the week going, and banished any lingering fears of the liquidity issues that closed out 2006.At least $8.5 billion in deals were expected to price or were announced last week.

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