Wells Fargo & Co. underwrites one third of all mortgages in the US, and this morning the company announced record earnings for the second consecutive quarter. Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf credits housing.
The news should not come as a surprise to anyone tracking current housing data: the Case-Shiller Index of home prices for 20 major U.S. cities rose more than 12 percent in the most recent month; home affordability is still high, according to the National Association of Realtors; and the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is still just 4.30 percent, based on data collected by Bankrate.com.
These are powerful trends. No wonder homebuilders are knocking the cover off the ball, beating analyst earnings estimates by record margins:
Connecting the dots: if homebuilders beat estimates, so too should the companies supplying homebuilders. We've noticed analysts raising estimates on twelve housing-related companies due to report earnings over the next three weeks:
Given today's results from Wells Fargo, and recent earnings beats at KB Home and Lennar, we suspect the sector is poised to surprise to the upside, by an amount significantly above the average 3.8 percent beat posted by the 32 S&P 500 companies which have already reported.
This should serve as a catalyst to lift the group, narrowing the current six percentage point gap between the SPDR S&P Homebuilder ETF (XHB) and the S&P 500 Index.