Wednesday, July 25, 2007

For Those of You Scoring At Home

I suggest you bookmark this link, which records insider transactions of Countrywide Financial Corp. stock. For those that don't know - the "Mozilo, Angelo R." that is the name beside the huge number of sales is the Chairman and CEO of Countrywide. Check out his recent transactions:

Not a purchase among them. And that is just for June and July. You do the math on whether it is a sign of things to come for the mortgage industry and thus, the housing and credit markets.

CFC is the 600 pound gorilla of the not-so-prime loan industry. Their loans were the high-octane fuel that helped drive up house prices all across the USA up until the recent crack-up of markets like Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix, etc.

When CFC goes down, the credit spigot is officially shut, in my opinion. Who knows how far prices will fall then. And credit is what keeps fractional reserve banking alive and functioning.

This is a very important fact that most mainstream commentators lose sight of. They talk constantly about "all that money out there" when folks like me fret about the financial system. What they are talking about is "all that credit out there" - and if that dries up, that means your business expansion slows or goes negative, it means wages don't grow, it means folks get fired and it means you can't service existing debt - which hurts the balance sheets of banks and causes them to get more conservative so they can survive, which means being picky with loans, which means credit contracts and the spiral continues down, down, down.

No comments: