For the first time in more than two years, there are signs that so-called private-label securities -- jumbo mortgage loans not backed by the government -- might make an appearance in the market again. Redwood Trust is said to be close to launching such a deal; Barclays Capital also is considering it. "I think we will see a handful of transactions through the year, which, optimistically, could rise to a couple dozen by year-end," said American Securitization Forum's Tom Deutsch. The first ones will likely be one-off deals, followed by a gradual re-opening of the market.

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