Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Subprime crisis moves right into prime-market loans

Countrywide Financial has prime-level mortgages at least 30 days late increase more than 250 percent:

Shares of Countrywide Financial Corp. tumbled today after the nation's biggest mortgage lender signaled that rising defaults and delinquencies are spreading beyond the troubled sub-prime market to higher-quality "prime" loans.

The Calabasas-based company reported a 33 percent drop in its second-quarter profit and slashed its outlook for the rest of the year, citing an “increasingly challenging” housing market. ...

Countrywide said payments were at least 30 days late at the end of second quarter on 4.56 percent of prime home-equity loans serviced by the company, up from 1.77 percent a year earlier.

Payments were late on 23.71 percent of sub-prime mortgage loans, up from 15.33 percent at the end of the same period in 2006, the company said.

What does this have to do with “watching those we choose”?

Bill Clinton said, 15 years ago: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

I give you 1-3 odds we’re in a recession in 12 months. It will be the economy, again, as well as Iraq, on the presidential and congressional campaign trails.

I increase those odds to 1-2 by Jan. 20, 2009, especially if Bloomberg’s is right about $100/bbl oil. Whoever is elected president will have to deal with this.

Update: DuPont was among slumping stocks today, with profit projections tumbling due to a decline in housing starts, home remodeling and related business affecting demand for countertops.

Cross-posted at Socratic Gadfly. (Both the subprime crisis/housing bubble and Peak Oil are blogged extensively at my blog.)