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What: Shares of mortgage insurer and retirement products provider Genworth Financial
So what: Well, the U.S. housing market still stinks and that pretty much sums up Genworth's ugly fourth-quarter report. Overall, the company reported a per-share loss of $0.33, which badly missed expectations of a $0.16 profit. Solid profits in the company's retirement products and international segments were easily swallowed by a hefty loss in its U.S. mortgage insurance business. The U.S. mortgage insurance loss was driven by pre-tax increase in loss reserves of $350 million.
Now what: The outlook for the U.S. mortgage insurance business isn't going to improve particularly quickly, and the head of that business unit said it won't return to profitability in 2011. Not surprisingly, other mortgage insurers including Radian Group
It's hard to get overly excited about a business under such a dark cloud, but Genworth's stock is currently trading at a mere fraction of its shareholders' equity, so for investors who don't mind ugly stocks, it may be worth a second look.
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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of Genworth Financial but does not own shares of any of the other companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.