Mortgage stocks were a mixed bag last week.
Investors responded to the Fed's further increases in shortterm rates and the expectation of stability in long-term rates that accompanied them by bidding up the shares of Fannie Mae by $4 a share and of Freddie Mac by $1.875. The secondary-market giants stand to benefit from a protracted period of rate stability.
But most mortgage banking stocks slipped after weeks of being buoyed by takeover speculation. The hardest hit was Lomas Financial, which fell $2.75 a share to $5. It had sunk as low as $4.625 in intraday trading.
The plunge of 33% was apparently in reaction to the company's announcement May 16 of yet another deficit in its third fiscal quarter.
Lomas had announced previously it was seeking a buyer for the company. It preceded its earnings report with word that it was negotiating the sale of its money-losing information services unit.
Electronic Data Systems Inc. was said to have been interested in the unit. which would give it an entry into a new product area. But one source said Lomas wasn't able to negotiate a price as high as the unit's book value. A group that includes Alpine Associates. an arbitrage firm based in Creskill, N.J., might have taken a big loss as a result of Lomas' slide. The company had disclosed the acquisition of 1.18 million Lomas shares between March 18 and May 4 at prices ranging from $7.44 and $9.25 each. The numbers suggest a paper loss of more than $3 million in just a few weeks.
Trading was unusually heavy in Lomas throughout the week, with more than four million shares traded, about eight times normal and 20% of its shares outstanding.
American Residential slipped 52.5 cents for the week, and anaysts said the loss might have been larger but for some comments made by John Robbins, president, in a telephone conference call about its first-quarter earnings.
He said the-company felt it had a responsibility to shareholders to consider any takeover bids. But he added that it not received any so far, and was not actively soliciting bids.