10 Notes on the Current Market Fracas

 |  Includes: FMCC, FNMA, XLF
by: David Merkel, CFA

1) How to control your emotions when the market is nuts?  Develop a checklist, or at least a strategy that makes you re-evaluate the fundamentals, rather than buying/selling indiscriminately.

2) What, one standard for revenue recognition?  Impossible! Great!  Revenue recognition is probably the most important issue in accounting, and whatever comes out of this will be important to investors.  (If the standard is bad, value investors that watch the quality of earnings will gain additional advantages.)

3) America is too big to fail?  You bet, at least to our larger creditors.  As it stands now, our economy is partly propped up by foreign creditors.  Remember, the mercantilists lost more than they gained.  The same will happen here.

4) Tom Graff is a bright guy, and I respect him.  He disagrees with my view on buying agency mortgage backed securities.  He is worth a read.

5) Dark supply.  There are many people who want to sell homes who have them off the market now waiting for better prices.  There are investors buying properties hoping to flip them.  These are reasons I don’t expect housing prices to come back quickly.

6) When I read this piece on Countrywide, I was not surprised by the existence of special deals, but only by their extent.

7) HEL and HELOC experience will continue to decline.  Face it, on most home equity loans in trouble, the losses will be 100%.  This will only burn out one year after the bottom in housing prices.

8) Fannie (FNM) and Freddie (FRE) have their concerns:

9)  Loser rallies rarely persist, but that is what we have had recently.

10) Along with Barry, I do not believe that banks have bottomed yet.  There are more credit losses to be taken, particularly as housing prices fall another 10%.