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Week 33: Admitting the possibility of a bull market

Portfolio Performance

Portfolio Composition:

Weekly Trades:

Posts this week:

Can’t Stay Away: Arcan Resources and Second Wave Petroleum

PHH, Newcastle Investments and Mortgage Servicing Rights

Shadow Inventory and how an improving US Economy begets an Improving Housing Market begets and Improving US economy begets….

PHH and one way to bet on a turn in the US economy

Jumping on the Bandwagon

As I wrote about earlier, I am coming around to the view that the US economy will perform reasonably well over the next few quarters.

Now let us not confuse the short term with the long term here.  I don’t for a moment think that the longer term issues in the US have been solved.  The situations in Europe, in Japan, and in the US are very similar.  There are massive storm clouds on the horizon, and those coming storms are causing the winds to pick up and the boats of the economy to waver in the seas.  But the storms themselves have not yet reached us, and so while we may have bouts of turbulence brought on by rising winds, or even, as in the case of Europe in November, sudden gusts that threaten to capsize the rigs, the actual storms are still a little ways off in the distance, far enough  that we can pretend at times that they are not there.

Now appears to be one of those times.

The LTRO seeming to have stabilized the banks of Europe in the near term.

TED Spread:

Italian 10 year:

Spanish 5 Year:

The economies of the European periphery, while entering what has to be an inevitable and deep recesion, are still far enough away from the consequences of these (maybe 2-3 more quarters) that we can ignore that more bailouts or a mass exodus from the euro is close at hand.

Finally, there can be no doubt that the numbers in the US are picking up some steam of late.  How long will this continue?  Perhaps not too long, but who is to say.

More specifically, the housing sector has been beaten to such a pulp in the past few years, and the stocks involved have taken such a beating, that even a stabilization at these low levels (both prices and activity) may lead to a substantial uptick in the share prices.

Always on the look-out for a bull market

So while I don’t really believe it can last over the long term, that doesn’t mean I can’t take advantage of it.  In the absence of the arrival of a true storm (like what happened in 2008), there is always some bull market somewhere.  You just have to find it.

Where am I looking?

  1. US Regional and Community Bank stocks
  2. Mortgage Servicing companies
  3. Oil stocks with large resources that can take advantage of Hz-multifrac technology to exploit those fields

I still don’t know what to think of gold. There is a bull market out there, but only for select stocks (see Atna and Argonaut Gold for a couple of examples).

Buying into Newcastle and buying more into PHH

As I wrote earlier, I believe that the mortgage servicing business provides a unique opportunity right now, and while I have started a position in Newcastle Investments in response to that, I expect to increase that position substantially over the coming weeks.  I have also turned PHH Corporation into one of my largest positions.

I’ve already talked about both of these investments ad nauseum in the last couple posts so I am not going to reiterate those theses here.  What I will say is that I am becoming more and more cozy with the mortgage market bottoming idea and I would expect that you will see more of my capital make its way over to this market in the coming weeks.  I am already looking for an opportunity to exit OceanaGold and reduce my position in Aurizon Gold.  The proceeds are likely to either go into PHH or NCT, or into another mortgage leveraged corporation that I find.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. rich #

    ‘Strategic Defaults’ by the Rich

    By TIM REID, Reuters

    February 16, 2012

    … A sprawling, Spanish-style estate, fringed by majestic pine trees and located near the boutiques of Santa Monica Boulevard, its former owners were served with a default notice in 2010; they were $205,000 behind in their payments on mortgages totaling $6.9 million.Welcome to foreclosure Beverly Hills-style.

    Defaults on ‘Jumbo Loans’ Soaring

    Across the United States, the largest increase in foreclosures and delinquencies, compared with 2008 levels, is with “jumbo” mortgages – loans too large to be insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government controlled mortgage finance providers. Foreclosures on jumbo loans are up 579 percent since 2008, greater than any other form of loan, according to a report last month by Lender Processing Services, Inc.

    High end loan owners have long denied they would get their comeuppance. They were wrong.

    Strategic defaults are now more likely among jumbo loan-holders than any other type of borrower, according to a report issued late last year by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Nearly 40 percent of delinquencies among non-governmental mortgages, which are mostly jumbo loans, are strategic defaults, the report said.
    “Now that these homeowners with jumbo loans are finding out you can do this, more and more are doing strategic foreclosures,” said Jon Maddux the CEO of, which advises homeowners who are “underwater,” the term for those whose loans exceed the value of their home.

    If QE is lipstick it better be of sufficient quantity to cover this pig’s lips!

    February 22, 2012

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