Industry News

Earnings tell all when it comes to management

News Analysis: Cendant, Wells Fargo, and Fannie Mae up; WaMu down

Thanks to the Enron scandal, transparency is at an all-time high. And that clarity enables observers of public companies to see which ones are going strong and which ones are shaking in their boots. In the past week, real estate giant Cendant's real estate earnings were up a whopping 31 percent, while home loan finance heavyweight Washington Mutual's earnings dipped 49 percent. While a wide range of factors explains the discrepancy, there is one fundamental explanation: The re-sale housing market is still hopping and Cendant is the leader. The mortgage business, on the other hand, is suffering from the shrinking refinance market. Cendant's revenue from real estate franchise, brokerage and relocation operations increased 31 percent to $1.8 billion in the second quarter. Meanwhile, its mortgage services segment saw second-quarter revenues slip 13 percent to $344 million from $394 million a year ago. That apparently was enough for Cendant to think about cutting the strings on its mo...