Industry News

Mortgage stocks rule on Wall Street

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Mortgage companies were among Wall Street's winners in April, despite the Federal Reserve's steady increases in bank interest rates. Shares of IndyMac Bancorp, Countrywide Financial Corp. and Washington Mutual posted gains of 17.3 percent, 12.8 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively, and helped push the Inman Index into plus territory for the month. A Motley Fool columnist noted that plenty of people still have reasons to obtain a new mortgage, even though "some red-hot housing markets remain highly susceptible for a tumble," in his opinion. That perceived demand for mortgages may make mortgage company stocks attractive to investors. Indeed, IndyMac's shares were up $7.13 in April to close at $48.32. The company reported a 26 percent increase in first-quarter earnings from $63 million, or 98 cents per share, in 2005, to $80 million, or $1.18 per share, in 2006, and an upward revision in management's earnings forecast to a range of $5 to $5.40 per share this year. Revenue increased 20 ...