Shares of Countrywide Credit Industries, Pasadena, Calif., took a beating last week both before and after the company announced a drop in profits.
The stock of the mortgage company gave up $2.25 last week, closing at $15 a share.
Much of the loss came on Tuesday, the day before the company met with analysts in New York to announce earnings for the quarter ended May 31. In heavy trading, Countrywide lost $1.50, to $15.50.
For the quarter, the mortgage bank earned $33.7 million, or 37 cents a share, compared with $43.3 million, or 49 cents a share, a year ago. Results were dragged down by lower originations and sharp competition among lenders scrambling for market share, the company said.
Countrywide also amortized hedging expenses of $20 million for the quarter. The hedges were designed to offset possible losses in the servicing portfolio because of refinancings.
The company will continue to feel the effect of the hedges in the current quarter, though it should have a somewhat smaller negative effect on the bottom line, according to company officials.
The announcement prompted many analysts to trim their 1994 earnings estimates for Countrywide. Johnathan Bensche at CS First Boston has cut his by about 20%, from $2.19, to $1.75.
Despite last week's bloodletting, Mr. Bensche remains sanguine. "I don't think there is a great deal of downside in the stock," he said.
According to his calculations, the underlying value of Countrywide is about $15 per share, a figure that would indicate little room for further losses.
Other major mortgage banks also retreated in last week's trading. North American Mortgage skidded $2 per share, closing Friday at $22.375. American Residential Mortgage fell 62.5 cents, closing at $18.25.
According to some market watchers, investors, who had been full of courage following Chemical Bank's purchase of Margaretten Financial, are now less likely to see a takeover behind every tree.