Last summer, Washington Mutual
The stock is getting hammered today after WaMu warned that a slowdown in its mortgage business will send earnings lower this year. The country's largest savings and loan is now looking to earn between $3 and $3.60 a share this year. That's well below the $4.21 a share that the company earned last year.
Higher rates are the culprit. Borrowing costs have started climbing as lenders brace themselves for the Fed's first rate hike in four years. Demand is drying up. The days of cheap financing are over. Companies like Countrywide
While there may be some more last-minute scrambling by folks looking to lock in low rates before they become a distant memory, it's not as if long-term investors are hurting. Countrywide has had it so good that it has announced three stock splits over the past year. WaMu's shares haven't done much since last summer's chest-thumping ad ran, but the company did hike its dividend earlier this year.
That's important: Now that the stock is getting roughed up, it's pushing the yield up well above the 4% mark. While that may not be enough to get Income Investor readers excited, as long as the company is able to maintain its puffy payout, it's a welcome security blanket. And as far as fashion statements go, a security blanket is something that will look good on anyone.
Have you checked out our Home Center to see if your window to move has been shut? WaMu has so much more to offer than mortgage banking, but can it succeed through this cyclical lull? All this and more in the Washington Mutual discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz did refinance his home twice over the past few years, but he's done for now. He does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this story.