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Alternative mortgage lenders get boost from Canada’s resilient housing market

Posted on Nov 19, 2013 in Mortgage Market Updates and News

David Pett
Financial Post
www.financialpost.com

Shares in three of Canada’s biggest alternative mortgage lenders look set to rise over the next year due to the ongoing resiliency of the country’s housing market.

“Alt-A lenders should continue to see enviable growth,” said Shubha Khan, an analyst at National Bank Financial. “We believe that near-term housing market risks have moderated, particularly in view of more dovish comments on interest rate policy from the Bank of Canada.”

Mr. Khan said credit quality also remains sound with mortgage delinquency rates near historical lows. He increased his price targets on Equitable Trust Inc., MCAN Mortgage Corp. and Home Capital Group Inc. and reaffirmed his outperform rating on all three names.

Equitable Trust can be expected to rise 30% over the next 12 months to $64, while MCAN will jump 22% to $16 over the same period, he said.

Home Capital Group, meanwhile, is set to climb as high as $95 – a 17% gain – after reporting solid third-quarter earnings on Wednesday after market close.

The company, down about 2% in trading on Thursday — the same day Finance Minister Jim Flaherty reinterated that rates will eventually rise — reported earnings per share of $1.90 on net income of $66.4 million compared to EPS of $1.65 on net income of $57.3-million a year ago.

“Home continues to post record earnings, with no signs of house price weakness evident in its results,” Michael Goldberg, a Desjardins Securities analyst, said in a note to clients. “We project continued earnings and dividend growth, now augmented by securitization gains.”

He said the stock’s rollercoaster performance in 2013 has been largely driven by movements in its short position, but expects that position to decline, driving the price up further. He maintained his top pick rating with a new higher target price of $93.50.

GMP analyst Stephen Boland is not so bullish, however, and left his hold rating and $86.50 price target for Home Capital shares unchanged.

“The stock has performed better than we expected entering the quarter which we believe was an anticipation of the strong results and a general sector rotation into financials,” he said. “That said, we have moved our valuation out a year but are not comfortable upgrading at this time due to the valuation.”


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