- Addressing an analyst cadre somewhat uncomfortable with American Capital's (AGNC +1.6%) new policy of purchasing the common stock of its agency mREIT competitors (Wells' Joel Houck: Do you know their hedging strategies? What happens when one blows up?), CIO Gary Kain says the discounts to asset value are so great as to mitigate much of the risk.
- Kain does acknowledge some risks though, and reminds that the purchase program is but a small slice of AGNC's overall portfolio ($400M of others' stock bought so far vs. nearly $600M of AGNC buybacks just in Q4).
- For now, there won't be any disclosure of which names American Capital is buying - a position also not sitting well with those on the call. Should the positions get large enough though, regulatory filings might be required.
- Kain also reminds that AGNC isn't just boosting risk with these purchases - instead it's selling MBS at 100 cents on the dollar to buy them back (via other mREITs) at somewhere in the area of 80 cents on the dollar.
- Most of the mREIT sector (REM +0.7%) is ahead again today - Armour (ARR +0.9%), CYS (CYS +2.8%), Hatteras (HTS +1.6%), American Capital Mortgage (MTGE +0.6%), PennyMac (PMT +1.2%) - but Annaly (NLY -0.6%) lags, perhaps as investors feel it was far more conservatively positioned going into 2014 than AGNC was.
- Earnings call is still ongoing
- Previous coverage
Analysts question AGNC strategy
Feb 4 2014, 11:51 ET