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Hedge Against Market Risk With Default Servicers

Stocks in this article: FNM FRE BAC DM ASPS LPS DJSP

By Glen Bradford

What is portfolio insurance? A method of hedging a portfolio of stocks against the market risk by short-selling stock index futures.

Let's settle for just hedging against market risk. Market risk is the risk that the value of a portfolio, either an investment portfolio or a trading portfolio, will decrease due to the change in value of the market-risk factors.

So let's assume that the stock market goes down 50%. Granted, this is unlikely to happen with the seemingly inevitable monetization of the deficit. But if the market tanks, housing will fall.

What's going to happen to the foreclosure market? Do you think more people would be able to afford their homes? Do you think that interest rates could get lower to finance homes at lower monthly payments? Do you think that the economy would improve? Probably not. All signs point to more foreclosures, short sales, etc.

The only way that I see out of this trap is to print enough money to justify these higher prices. We're on that road, but it's going to take a while.

While we wait, I advise taking a look at default, foreclosure, short-sale servicing companies to hedge against the market risk. Fannie Mae (FNM), Freddie Mac (FRE), and Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) are going to need these services badly. As for now, it is my understanding that there are temporary industry-wide problems. Rumors indicate a mortgage moratorium that is supposed to end by the end of the third quarter.

The Dolan Company (DM - Get Report) is trading with a forward P/E of around 9.10, suggesting earnings are going to increase over 50% year over year. They acquired DiscoverReady in November of last year and, in my opinion, historical operating income instead of historical net income should be used to forecast the future, in this case.

Altrisource Portfolio Solutions (ASPS - Get Report) is trading with a P/E above 20, is getting upgraded by analysts, and recently acquired The Mortgage Partnership of America. That said, note the rough $3.2M in EBITA that was acquired through the MPA and the more than doubling in properties under management from January through March of 2010.

Lender Processing Services (LPS) just pulled off a glowing quarter amidst a period impacted by sluggish industry trends. Trading at an estimated P/E of 9.10 for 2010 makes this one inexpensive as well.

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