Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Countrywide EPS Estimate Raised. (Business Alert)

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Countrywide EPS Estimate Raised. (Business Alert)

Article excerpt

NEW YORK-BASED MERRILL LYNCH RAISED its first-quarter 2003 earnings per share (EPS) estimate from S 1.98 to $2.05 for Countrywide Financial Corporation, Calabasas, California, to better reflect the continued strength of the refinance market. Management's guidance remains between $1.95 and $2.10. Merrill Lynch is also raising its consensus-high 2003 estimate from s8.10 to $8.40, believing 2003'S industry loan volumes could very well rival the old record set in 2002. Merrill Lynch's first-quarter and 2003 earnings estimates of $2.05 and $8.40 compare with consensus estimates of $2.02 and $7.65, respectively.

First-quarter industry loan volumes remain strong, driven by record levels of mortgage refinances and continued strength in the home-purchase market. Moreover, current no-point, 30-year mortgage rates of between 5.80 percent and 6 percent now make refinances in the market's highly concentrated supply of coupons at 6.50 percent very likely, according to Merrill Lynch. If interest rates remain at Current levels over the next two months, total industry loan volumes could very well reach the all-time record set in 2002 of roughly $2.6 trillion.

Merrill Lynch believe shares of Countrywide continue to look very attractive at 6. …

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