The conundrum of Countrywide (CFC - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating) going up even as another subprime dealer, Mortgage Lenders Network, goes under, may be answered by a simple tenet: The weak hands are going under, leaving the biggest and best to triumph.
When I pulled up with Angelo Mozilo, the man who built Countrywide -- the man who is Countrywide, some would say -- we joked about how strong Countrywide's business is because it has always "modeled" the bad loans better than anyone. One of the mistakes made by the analyst community is believing that any loans that go under could be death to a lender. In truth, the good ones model what will happen under a lot of scenarios, and it is pretty clear that Countrywide has the best models. Always has.
That's why it is going up. That's why it will continue to go up. That's why Countrywide is still a buy, despite the problems in housing and the headlines about how bad this business is.
Countrywide closed at $44.74 on February 7, 2007. Had you invested $10,000 in that stock then, it would now be worth about $1050.00