See the end of the post for the current make up of my portfolio and the last four weeks of trades.
In a previous post about Walker & Dunlop I described the consequence of being on vacation while the company announced poor results, which was that I was not able to take advantage of a clear selling situation. The same was the case for Dex Media.
In the past I used the term “good enough investing” to describe what I’m trying to do with my portfolio. I work a full time job, have a life and need a break now and then, and all that means I just can’t be on top of everything. I try my best but I have found it necessary to employ techniques to mitigate this. In particular, I sell stocks when things aren’t working out.
While I’ve had my share of winners over the past month and a half (AIQ, NVS, NCT, NRF, IQNT to name a few), I’ve also had my share of losers (NKO, EXE, VTNC, and the above mentioned duo) with the result being that my portfolio has done not much of anything. While I remain hopeful that both Niko Resources and Extendicare eventually pan out, the fact is that thus far they haven’t. Read more
With the earnings plate of stocks I own full to the brim, it was a bit of a tough week to be away. The consequence was that I was not able to review many of the reports and conference calls until this weekend, and in a few cases the stocks suffered significant drops in the interim.
This was the case for Walker & Dunlop, the commercial mortgage originator that I’ve owned for the last four months. In my original and follow up post on the company I described the investment thesis as being based in part on the continuation of their history of growth as a multi-family lender, and in part based on their relatively recent relationship with Fortress Investment Group, who I expected to open a few new doors for the company.
One door was opened in the first quarter with the initiation of an $850 million bridge lending program aimed at borrowers who would eventually qualify for Fannie, Freddie, CMBS or HUD channels. This is a solid step for the company as it opens up another destination for its originations, but at 8% of loan volumes its not a game changer. Read more
This last week has been jam packed full of news, earnings and outsized moves. I don’t think I have ever had as many 10%+ days for stocks that I own (or have recently owned but unfortunately sold) as I did in the last week. While some of these moves do not seem attributable to any specific news (such as First Mariner and Atlantic Coast Financial) most of them do. And while I have not had time to fully digest all of the news (I haven’t had time to review what announced spin-off for IDT and so therefore won’t be touching on that) I did want to discuss the stocks that I have reviewed and can comment on in the paragraphs below:
I sold out of MBIA in all but one account about two weeks ago, which is unfortunate timing given what has transpired. Nevertheless I had my reasons, they remain valid, and you gain little by looking back at bad luck. When the stock dipped into the $13’s on the day of the announcement I was really surprised, I mean the Bank of America deal was what we had all been waiting for, but I took advantage of the opportunity and loaded up the truck with stock. Therefore MBIA is a large position for me right now – it seemed very close to a sure bet in the mid-13’s and so I bought 11% position, going on some margin to do so.
At some point shortly I am going to have to reduce that position (I’m uncomfortable with it being this large) but I am waiting for at least the conference call tomorrow to do that. And what I do with my shares will really depend on what is said – in particular what management says about structured unit on call. They may come out and say that they have commuted the worst exposure, the unit isn’t going to regulator, and they expect to realize ABV of $10 from it. In that case maybe MBIA is worth quite a bit more than National alone. We shall see. Read more
I was originally put on to the idea of Walker & Dunlop (WD) by a reader of the blog back in September (while I will leave the name of that tipster anonymous, many thanks for the idea). The call was prescient and I can only wish I had made my purchases sooner.
As it was, I initiated a position in Walker & Dunlop about 4 weeks ago, doing so after the stock had fallen 10% from its 52 week high of $21.76. Unfortunately that turned out to be at least $2 too soon.
The stock has subsequently fallen further. As usual being wrong has compelled me to re-evaluate my thesis, which I did this week. After some waffling I have decided not only to hold on to the position but add to it, which I did on Thursday and again on Friday.
What they do
Walker & Dunlop is the commercial lending equivalent of Nationstar Mortgage. Their business is the origination and servicing of commercial mortgage loans. The vast majority of those loans are multi-family and are passed along to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or into HUD insured Ginnie Mae securities. The company generates revenue from origination fees and on the servicing of its loans. They are the eighth largest originator of commercial mortgage loans in the United States, and the second largest originator of multi-family loans.
Extending the analogy to Nationstar, Walker & Dunlop recently acquired its fellow commercial originator CWCapital from Fortress Investment Group, who became a large shareholder after acquiring 11.6 million shares as part of the sale. Read more
See the end of the post for Portfolio Composition and weekly trades.
A week of Significant Gains from RDN, MTG, MBIA
The last seven days have been extremely good ones for my portfolio. This has been primarily due to the price appreciation of MGIC, Radian Group and MBIA. As regards MGIC and Radian, I have written so much about these two names, done so much work trying to understand the business (and trying to understand how other people were trying to understand the business), that it is quite rewarding to see it play out the way that it has.
It is amazing to me that MGIC has more than doubled (from a $2.40 low to a $6.10 high) during 5 days when the only notable disclosure was that the company had the ability to raise capital. Someone with an interest in market psychology should really write a piece on MGIC – you could call it the Existential Security.
I reduced my position in both Radian and MGIC by a little more than half during the early part of this week. My sales of MGIC occurred around $5.20 while those with Radian were at a little over $10. I don’t have plans on selling any more of either.
I sold the positions down because they were getting very large (particularly in the case of MGIC) and because my thesis, that these companies would be able to survive, has now played out. What is going to drive the stocks going forward is the long-term potential of the mortgage insurance business and how well each company can capitalize on it. Read more