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American Capital Agency Corp. (AGNC)

  • Jan. 13, 2014, 3:08 PM
    • What might pull the mREIT sector out of its brutal slump? A slide in the broad equity market for one. An out of nowhere 1%-plus dive in the major averages is being felt in the bond market, where the 10-year yield is off another 3 basis points to 2.83%, and mortgage REITs (REM +0.4%) - whose book values have been savaged by the big jump in interest rates since last spring - are responding.
    • Annaly (NLY +1.2%), American Capital (AGNC +1.4%), (MTGE +1.1%), Two Harbors (TWO +1.4%), CYS (CYS +1.9%), Western Asset (WMC +1.5%), AG Mortgage (MITT +1.1%), and Ellington Residential (EARN +0.8%) are leading. This just in: Sector giants American Capital Agency and Annaly are ahead 6% and 4% YTD, respectively.
    • The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT +0.6%) is up 3.2% for the year.
    | Jan. 13, 2014, 3:08 PM | 7 Comments
  • Jan. 10, 2014, 11:18 AM
    • It's a big dip in interest rates today (the 10-year yield off 8 bps to 2.88%), but buyers are doing little more than tiptoeing back into beaten-down mortgage REITs.
    • Leading are Annaly (NLY +1.3%) and American Capital (AGNC +1.4%), (MTGE +1.1%), and Armour (ARR +0.7%), CYS Investments (CYS +1.2%), and Invesco (IVR +1.1%) are also posting decent gains. All are quietly up in the area of 5-10% off of their 52-week lows set late last year.
    • Related ETFs: REM, MORT, MORL
    | Jan. 10, 2014, 11:18 AM | 9 Comments
  • Dec. 20, 2013, 12:12 PM
    • "Do the math," says SA contributor REIT Analyst, eyeing a short opportunity in Western Asset Management (WMC +5.4%) following its surprising $2.35 dividend announcement last night.
    • The rise in the stock today puts it above November 30 estimated book value per share of $16.76 - this at a time when the rest of the mREIT sector (REM+1.2%) is trading at a significant discount to book, including American Capital Agency (AGNC +1.3%) at more than a 20% discount, and Anworth (ANH+1%) at nearly 30% - just to name two. And don't forget the dilutive share issuance necessary to pay out the stock portion of the dividend.
    • Among others who announced dividends last night, Annaly (NLY +2.1%) gains after surprising no one by cutting a nickel to $0.30, and Chimera (CIM+2.2%) rises after announcing a special $0.20 dividend.
    • Lumped in with the mREITs, but with a slightly different business model is Arlington Asset Management (AI +3.3%) which continues a big run this year after holding its payout steady. SA contributor Darren McCammon reminds Arlington is a C corp, so - for taxable accounts - its yield is taxed at lower qualified rates, making its 13.4% annualized payout comparable to an mREIT paying 16%. Check McCammon's post for the rest of the advantages. The stock is up 28% YTD vs. big declines for the mREIT sector.
    • Related ETFs: MORT, MORL
    | Dec. 20, 2013, 12:12 PM | 7 Comments
  • Dec. 19, 2013, 7:18 AM
    • In addition to cutting the quarterly dividend by $0.15 to $0.65 per share, American Capital Agency (AGNC) also announced a fast acceleration in its buyback program - purchasing 28.2M shares, or 7% of the float in Q4. Since starting the program in 2012 Q4, the company has repurchased about 43M shares for $934M.
    • To review: AGNC - with a highly liquid, easy to value, and easy to sell portfolio - trades at a 21.8% discount to book value, and CIO Gary Kain has made clear his preference for buying $1 of MBS at a discount through share repurchases.
    • The stock's ahead 0.7% premarket.
    • Also: Sister-company American Capital Mortgage's dividend cut and buyback news.
    | Dec. 19, 2013, 7:18 AM | 11 Comments
  • Dec. 18, 2013, 4:37 PM
    | Dec. 18, 2013, 4:37 PM | 33 Comments
  • Dec. 16, 2013, 3:35 PM
    • The mortgage REIT sector (REM -0.6%) is lower on a bright green day for the rest of the market, with Anworth Mortgage's (ANH -1.2%) 33% dividend cut Friday night offering another excuse to Sell. Anworth is an agency mortgage player, investing mostly in adjustable mortgages. Anworth's new forward yield of 7.5% is so far out of line with the double digits of the rest of the industry, it suggests even more declines are in store for the stock, or big dividend cuts lie ahead for competitors. At $4.19, Anworth is selling for a near-30% discount to September 30 book value.
    • Down the most today is American Capital Mortgage (AGNC -2.7%), and its non-agency cousin, American Capital Agency (MTGE -1.7%) is off sharply as well.
    • Others: Annaly (NLY -1.3%), Armour (ARR -1.2%), Western Asset (WMC -1.8%), Apollo (AMTG -1.4%), Ellington (EFC -0.4%), (EARN +0.2%)
    • Related ETFs: MORT, MORL
    | Dec. 16, 2013, 3:35 PM | 27 Comments
  • Dec. 10, 2013, 11:12 AM
    • The mREIT sector (REM +1.2%) is up for a 2nd consecutive day, with Hatteras Financial's (HTS +1.5%) 9% dividend cut overnight not hurting the stock and suggesting maybe a lot of bad news has been priced in. Core income in Q3 was $0.44 per share and the new payout is $0.50.
    • Another adjustable-rate mortgage player, CYS Investments (CYS +2.4%) is also ahead, as is Capstead Mortgage (CMO +0.9%). Others: Annaly (NLY +1.5%), American Capital (AGNC +1.7%), Invesco (IVR +2.4%), Western Asset (WMC +1.3%).
    • Related ETFs: MORT, MORL
    | Dec. 10, 2013, 11:12 AM | 22 Comments
  • Dec. 6, 2013, 11:42 AM
    • There's a bit of green spreading across the mREIT sector this morning as Treasurys reverse an early plunge following the strong jobs report - the 10-year yield is now off 3 basis points to 2.85% after climbing to 2.93% just after the 8:30 ET release.
    • However, there's no relief for sector leaders Annaly (NLY -1%) and American Capital Agency (AGNC -1.5%), both of  which continue to reel following Goldman's Sell recommendation yesterday - each have carved out new 52-week lows this morning. There may be plenty of players in the mREIT sector, but for the institutional big boys who have the Goldman report on their desks, there's just NLY and AGNC. Others in the red include: Armour (ARR -0.7%) and CYS Investments (CYS -1.1%).
    • Posting gains: Chimera (CIM +0.8%), Invesco (IVR +0.2%), Hatteras (HTS +0.2%), Dynex (DX +0.7%), New York Mortgage (NYMT +0.3%), Apollo Residential (AMTG +0.7%), Javelin (JMI +1.1%), AG Mortgage Investment (MITT +2.3%).
    • Related ETFs: REM, MORT, MORL.
    | Dec. 6, 2013, 11:42 AM | 12 Comments
  • Dec. 5, 2013, 1:17 PM
    • A check of the mortgage REITs following Goldman's interestingly-timed initiation of Annaly (NLY -1.6%) and American Capital Mortgage (AGNC -1.1%) with Sells finds the sector (REM -0.8%) again underperforming the broad market.
    • To review: Annaly is off about 40% in 8 months and American Capital is off about 42% in 7 months. Yes, higher interest rates have delivered a hit to their portfolios (which tend to be longish in duration), but investor distaste for the names also has both trading at roughly 20% discounts to their book values.
    • So is the call late? Maybe. On the other hand, one well-known hedge funder defines a 50% loss as holding a stock that goes from being down 80% to being down 90%.
    • Other names of interest: CYS Investments (CYS -0.4%), Western Asset (WMC -1%).
    • Related ETFs: MORT, MORL
    | Dec. 5, 2013, 1:17 PM | 37 Comments
  • Dec. 5, 2013, 7:45 AM
    • Initiating coverage on the sector giants, Goldman sees both Annaly (NLY) and American Capital Agency (AGNC) as Sells.
    • "We expect book value to fall as rates rise and MBS spreads to widen post Fed tapering," says analyst Eric Beardsley, giving NLY a $9.50 price target. With management taking actions to protect said book value such as moving into short-duration assets and boosting hedges, expect more earnings headwinds and dividend cuts of about 40%. An expected dividend of $0.80 per share is an 8% yield based on the current stock price. Total return of 2% over the next year compares to 10% Beardsley expects for the overall mREIT sector (REM).
    • It's the same story for AGNC which gets an $18.50 price target. Beardsley expects book value to fall 15% to $21.39 by Q4 next year and the dividend to drop to $2 - a 10% yield based on the current stock price. He sees total return of 4% over the next year, again compared to 10% for the overall sector.
    • Related ETFs: MORL, MORT
    | Dec. 5, 2013, 7:45 AM | 62 Comments
  • Dec. 2, 2013, 3:48 PM
    • There's no mercy for the mREIT sector (REM -1.6%) as this morning's strong economic data sends the 10-year Treasury yield five basis points higher to 2.80%. Among the new 52-week lows today are sector giants Annaly (NLY -1.6%) and American Capital Agency (AGNC -1.8%).
    • Also down sharply are Armour (ARR -2.4%), CYS Investments (CYS -2.4%), Dynex (DX -2.5%), American Capital Mortgage (MTGE -2.8%), AG Mortgage (MITT -2.4%), and Arlington Asset (AI -3.1%).
    • Management matters, and investors have clearly lost some faith in the leadership of Annaly and American Capital - both of which trade at more than 20% discounts to book value. The newest favorite is that of Ellington Financial (EFC), where management has mostly been able to preserve book value this year. Company structure may have helped too - Ellington is a partnership, not a REIT and has somewhat more flexibility with its portfolio. The stock trades at just a 6% discount to October 31 reported book.
    • ETFs: MORT, MORL
    | Dec. 2, 2013, 3:48 PM | 48 Comments
  • Nov. 30, 2013, 9:42 AM
    • "People are absolutely freaking out about interest-rate risk," says Jeff Gundlach, sitting down with Robert Shiller to size up the investment landscape. Ever the contrarian, Gundlach suggests last year's 1.4% low in the 10-year Treasury yield could still get taken out. The catalyst? "You never know until after the fact; otherwise, it would be priced in the market. But there is no inflation."
    • The see "freaking out" in a picture, check out the price charts of the mortgage REITs, particularly the two proxies for riding the long end of the curve - Annaly (NLY) and American Capital Agency (AGNC). Gundlach: "You can take advantage of pockets of opportunity in what people don't want ... If you're willing to take the interest-rate [risk], you can get yields of 11% in the agency mortgage market."
    • Constructive on housing (but not homebuilders), Gundlach is also bullish on non-agency mortgage paper, calling it the cheapest sector in fixed income on a risk-adjusted basis. Fans of also beaten-up non-agency mREITs like American Capital Mortgage (MTGE), MFA Financial, Dynex (DX), and Two Harbors (TWO) may want to take notice.
    • Mortgage REIT ETFs: REM, MORT, MORL
    | Nov. 30, 2013, 9:42 AM | 71 Comments
  • Nov. 26, 2013, 1:54 PM
    • At what point do you just liquidate the portfolio? Habits die hard and traders used to hitting the sell button on the mREITs (REM -0.5%) are doing so again today even as interest rates slide a bit.
    • Hitting another multi-year low today, Annaly (NLY -1.3%) - with a portfolio of very liquid assets heavily hedged against rising rates - is now selling for 20% less than September 30's reported book value.
    • American Capital Agency (AGNC -0.8%) - with an equally liquid hedged portfolio - is also at about a 20% discount. Previous: CIO Kain promises to continue buybacks at this discounted level.
    • Other agency players: Hatteras (HTS -1%), CYS (CYS -1.4%), Capstead (CMO -1%).
    • Non-agency mREITs are slipping as well - even as Case-Shiller reports continued solid gains in home prices (which should boost portfolio values). Two Harbors (TWO -1.5%), MFA (MFA -1.4%), Western Asset (WMC -1.1%).
    • ETFs: MORT, MORL
    | Nov. 26, 2013, 1:54 PM | 44 Comments
  • Nov. 22, 2013, 3:11 PM
    • A nice backup in rates (the 10-year Treasury yield is off 4 bps to 2.75%) is of no help to the mortgage REITs (REM -0.3%), with sector kingpins Annaly (NLY -1.4%) and American Capital Agency (AGNC -1.2%) both hunkered down (NLY earnings call, AGNC earnings call) for the Fed taper, and both hitting 52-week lows today.
    • Earlier this week, AGNC and MTGE CIO Gary Kain took his case all the way to Asia at the Citi financial services conference in Hong Kong (transcript). Yes, book value has been hit by higher rates, but also by how much the market is willing to pay for it. Whereas AGNC traded at an average of 110%-120% of book over the past 4-5 years, it's now at sub-90%.
    • Discounts can last for awhile, he admits, but also reminds this isn't some opaque bank balance sheet, but instead an easily valued, highly liquid portfolio of assets trading at $0.85-$0.90 on the dollar. As long as it persists, American Capital will continue selling MBS for $1 and buying back stock at a discount.
    • Previous: Kain makes a similar case
    • Related ETFs: MORT, MORL
    • Other sector stocks: Armour (ARR), Two Harbors (TWO -0.8%), CYS (CYS +0.1%), AG Mortgage (MITT -0.5%)
    | Nov. 22, 2013, 3:11 PM | 12 Comments
  • Nov. 14, 2013, 8:36 AM
    • Gary Kain's co-chief investment officer at American Capital Mortgage (MTGE) - Jeff Winkler - has resigned from the company, effective yesterday.
    • The entire mREIT (REM) industry has struggled this year, particularly MTGE and cousin American Capital Agency (AGNC), which - for the moment - have given up the management premiums they used to enjoy.
    • SEC Form 8-K
    | Nov. 14, 2013, 8:36 AM | 11 Comments
  • Nov. 13, 2013, 3:57 PM
    • When agency mREITs trade at discounts to book value, it's a lot different than a bank or insurance company trading at a discount, says American Capital Agency (AGNC +1.6%) CIO Gary Kain, speaking at the BofA financial services conference (transcript) (slides). Why? Because the assets held at an agency REIT are fairly easy to mark, and they're easy/liquid to trade. The benefit of selling mortgages and buying back stock is pretty clear.
    • "We stressed on our call that we ... clearly believe that we should be buying back stock in an environment such as this and taking advantage of the liquidity of our assets ... We will continue to pay a lot of attention to the ability to monetize price to book discount," not just at AGNC, but at American Capital Mortgage (MTGE +0.5%).
    | Nov. 13, 2013, 3:57 PM | 9 Comments
Company Description
American Capital Agency Corp is a real estate investment trust that invests exclusively in residential mortgage pass-through securities and collateralized mortgage obligations on a leveraged basis.
Sector: Financial
Country: United States