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New Century Revises Projections Upward

April 05, 2002|E. Scott Reckard

Saying its mortgage volume is setting records, New Century Financial Corp. issued the latest in a series of upbeat projections, sending its stock up 15% to an all-time high in heavy Nasdaq trading.

Shares of the Irvine company, which specializes in home loans to borrowers with flawed or limited credit histories, rose $3.21 to $25.12. A year earlier they had sold for $7.

New Century said it expects to earn $4.15 to $4.35 a share this year. At the end of January, it had projected earnings of $3.60 to $3.80, an estimate it increased to $3.90 to $4.10 in late February.

Despite a recent spike, mortgage rates remain attractive to New Century's typical customers: borrowers who consolidate high-interest credit card debt and other loans into relatively low-interest home loans. New Century originated or purchased a record $2.65 billion in loans in the first quarter, up 157% from the year-earlier period.

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