I wrote up my position in Hovnanian preferreds (HOVNP) in April 2013, so a little over 9 months ago. During that time the preferreds have went on a round trip to nowhere, peaking out at $18 in the summer before falling back to $14 in the last few weeks of the year.
I waited patiently through most of the year, not adding to my position but not reducing it either. When the preferred shares touched the $14’s though, I decided to add with the rationale that we are another year closer to the housing recovery.
I didn’t, however, put in any new work before my purchase. I took the lazy way out, falling back on the thesis of choppy but improving fundamentals of the housing market and my work from nine months earlier that suggested that by 2014 Hovnanian should cross the fixed interest coverage restriction that has kept them from paying interest on their preferreds.
This week I filled the void and did some work on the progress made by Hovnanian. In the table below I have calculated the interest coverage ratio that restricts dividends on the preferreds. If you want the language of the preferred document you can go back and read my original comment but in simple terms it is a ratio of consolidated cash flow from operations (so cash flows that do not include cash from unconsolidated subsidiarie) to the interest paid during the period. That ratio has to be above 2.0 for the previous 12 months before Hovnanian can reinstate payments on the preferreds. Read more
See the end of the post for a full portfolio breakdown.
Since my last update I exited Radian Group, Arkansas Best and MBIA. The sales reflect a desire to redeploy cash in other opportunities as well as some lingering concerns about each company.
With Arkansas Best, its my uncertainty about the outcome of union negotiations. The negotiations were extended this week for a second time. An escalation to a strike does not seem out of the question. If a strike occurs the stock price may or may not get hit; while a positive resolution could be quite good for the stock in the long-run (see my original post about how Arkansas Best would benefit from a contract structured in a similar manner to the one that YRC Worldwide operates with) the uncertainty may drive panic selling. I’ve decided to wait this one out for a few weeks and see how it plays out. Read more
Early last year I warmed up to the idea that housing was in the early stages of recovery and this single idea generated a number of successful investments for me (NCT, NSM, IMH, MTG, RDN, HOV…). With many of these housing investments having now played out I have been trying to think of what big idea might drive my strategy in the next 9-12 months.
What occurred to me rather suddenly this week was that perhaps I had already figured that out, had even been acting on the idea, though I had not articulated it consciously.
Companies with excessive leverage have been shunned for the past 5 years. Many have lagged as questions about their ability to continue as a going-concern have superseded any potential out-performance to the upside if things take off.
I think that this might be the year that changes. Read more
(Note that I am now posting my portfolio composition and list of trades at the end of the post)
I didn’t get around to writing an update last week because I was busy with other research that could not wait. So its been 3 weeks since I updated my portfolio and transactions and quite a bit has happened over that time.
Over time my portfolio has slowly morphed into a vehicle for playing the housing recovery. I had large moves to the upside in a number of my housing related positions, with the most pronounced being of course Impac Mortgage (IMH), but also from Radian Group (RDN), MGIC (MTG) and a number of my regional banks with strong mortgage banking operations. Its been a good 3 weeks.
In this post I want to talk about some of the changes I’ve made over the last 3 weeks. To summarize:
- I sold out of all my gold stocks other then Atna Resources (ATN)
- I made a brief foray into, and then out of, US E&P’s
- I am out of JC Penney (JCP)… for now
- I am into Avenex Energy (AVF) and a homebuilder (HOV)
I will address each of these in order, followed by a brief discussion of what to expect from Nam Tai, which reports earning on Monday and of which I want to be clear of my expectations and actions. But first I want to talk generally for a moment.
I’m finding that I am using twitter quite a bit to post what I am doing on a more regular basis. Whenever I find a relevant article, or if I start to buy a new stock, I try to put a post up on twitter. I have also found a number of folks on there that have been useful to follow. Its a useful tool, and has the advantage over the traditional message board format in that you follow a person rather than a subject. So you aren’t wading through garbage to find nuggets. You can follow me @LSigurd. Read more