Countrywide Financial Corp. said second-quarter earnings fell 33 percent from last year to $485 million, in part because rising delinquencies forced the company to write down by $388 million the value of securities backed by prime home-equity loans. "During the quarter, softening home prices continued to affect many areas of the country, and delinquencies and defaults continued to rise across all mortgage product categories as a result," Chief Executive Officer Angelo R. Mozilo said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Countrywide projects that unless mortgage interest rates fall, the company's production volumes will decline and price competition will increase. Increased competition, combined with reduced demand for mortgage-backed securities in the secondary market, are expected to hurt profit margins, the company said. Additional deterioration in the housing market could impact credit costs. Countrywide cut its earnings forecast for the year to between $2.70 and $3.30 p...
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