Two mortgage industry analysts have modified their outlooks on Countrywide Credit Industries. One raised his opinion, and the other is cautious.
Jonathan E. Gray of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., New York, continues to rate the stock "market perform," but cites an increase in delinquencies in the lender's production. The figure rose to 3.01% in October from 1.71% a year earlier. While the rating is not a downgrade, the report recommends caution.
Gary Gordon, who is with PaineWebber Inc., raised his rating of Countrywide to "attractive" from "neutral." His reasoning is based on value. With the recent dip in stock price, Mr. Gordon said he saw it as slightly undervalued. At the time he wrote the report, Countrywide was trading at a discount of about 20% to his valuation of $23 to $25 per share.
Mr. Gordon said, in a brief report, that he believed the rise in delinquencies in the last year was irrelevant.
"The rise in delinquencies is explained not by some serious lapse in underwriting standards at CCR but by looking at how CCR's servicing portfolio has grown," the report said.
The company added more than $80 billion of servicing in 1992 and 1993, and those loans are now reaching the peak time of default, Mr. Gordon said. Countrywide has also increased its holdings of FHA loans and adjustable- rate loans, both of which have higher delinquency rates than other loan types.
Also, the lender's affordable housing loan program has produced more delinquencies than expected.
Both analysts use the same information in their reports, but treat it differently. While Mr. Gordon says delinquencies have little impact on the company's earnings, Mr. Gray says the delinquency and foreclosure rate could result in a $23 million hit to Countrywide's earnings.
Mr. Gray's report says that he believes delinquencies are likely to rise in Countrywide's portfolio over the next two years, reflecting normal seasoning and a rise in low-down-payment loans.