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Countrywide Financial Profit Nearly Doubles

July 23, 2004|From Reuters

Countrywide Financial Corp. said second-quarter profit nearly doubled on increased mortgage lending, but results missed analysts' estimates.

The Calabasas mortgage giant raised its full-year outlook and increased its quarterly dividend by 33%.

The company said second-quarter net income rose to $700 million, or $2.24 a share, compared with $383 million, or $1.37, a year earlier. The year-earlier results were adjusted for two stock splits.

Wall Street analysts had expected Countrywide to report earnings of $2.34 a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Senior analyst Neil Abromavage of Deutsche Bank Securities said investors bought the stock during the quarter "expecting an upside surprise and a large magnitude of an upward revision in guidance."

Countrywide shares have doubled from their 52-week low of $32.28 in August 2003.

The company said it expected earnings of $7.50 to $8.50 a share in 2004, up from a previous outlook of $7 to $8.25 a share. Analysts had estimated earnings of $8.21 a share.

Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo said the gain in mortgage lending helped maintain growth in servicing, the business of collecting monthly mortgage principal and interest payments.

Countrywide declared a quarterly dividend of 20 cents a share, payable Aug. 31 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 13. Its shares rose 75 cents, to $73.03 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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