Housing

Bank Mortgage & Foreclosure Fears Drive Insurers (BAC, MBI, ABK, RDN, MTG)

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) may have more exposure than the rest of the money center banks due to its acquisition of Countrywide, and the spate of news about disclosure documents and representations all halting the foreclosure process is taking its toll.  A group that is winning from this is the troubled mortgage insurance stocks like MBIA Inc. (NYSE: MBI) and even the troubled Ambac Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: ABK).  Radian Group Inc. (NYSE: RDN) and MGIC Investment Corp. (NYSE: MTG) even participated in the move.

MBIA Inc. (NYSE: MBI) rose 16% to $13.00 today.  Of the insurers, it is considered one of the survivors or one of the less-weak.  Shares rose yesterday as well, but the stock was under $10.50 briefly this week.

Ambac Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: ABK) is still a company that is at-risk and its future is still uncertain.  The amazing part of the mortgage foreclosure cessation is that this all give Ambac that much more legal strength in the suits against banks showing that documentation was error-ridden all throughout the mortgage industry.  Shares rose 18% to $0.95 today and the after-hours session has it even higher.  The tally including trading after the close is now more than 57 million shares. Shares rose yesterday as well, but the stock had traded under $0.75 earlier in the week.

Radian Group Inc. (NYSE: RDN) shares rose 6.8% to $9.01 today on about 150% of normal volume after more than 10 million shares traded hands.  The highs today traded above the $9.00 prints from earlier in the week.

MGIC Investment Corp. (NYSE: MTG) was up the least today of the group.  Shares were up nearly 5% at $10.51 on more than 9.2 million shares.

Bank of America closed down 5% at $12.60 on about 500 million shares today.  It also saw more than 447,000 contracts trade in the put options versus over 303,000 call options.

JON C. OGG