Industry News

Subprime woes sink real estate stocks

Inman Index: Mortgage companies suffer Wall Street's wrath

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The hypothetical Inman Index was a sea of red ink in March as nine of the 10 brokerage, mortgage and technology companies that comprise the index lost ground. Hardest hit were mortgage company stocks, which suffered from their association with the nation's subprime lending sector. Shares of Countrywide Financial opened March 1 at $37.44, only to close 30 days later at $33.64, a one-month decline of 10.1 percent and a 21.4 percent drop since Jan. 1. A Forbes.com story noted that less than 9 percent of Countrywide's loans are subprime, yet an increase in the subprime default rate compared with the prior year appeared to have "spooked investors." Analysts at Goldman Sachs reiterated a "sell" rating on Countrywide with a lowered target price of $33, according to NewRatings.com, while a Standard & Poor's analyst maintained a "sell" rating with target price reduced to $24. "We believe the company's gain-on-sale margin will come under pressure due to concerns about loan defaults in the s...