Countrywide Backs Guidance

It lowers the high end of its estimate of the total U.S. mortgage market.
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Countrywide

(CFC)

backed earnings guidance Wednesday but trimmed the high end of its estimate of the total U.S. mortgage market in 2006.

The lender put the industrywide market at $2.2 trillion to $2.9 trillion this year. In late April, Countrywide estimated the market at $2.2 trillion to $3 trillion.

Countrywide also repeated the earnings guidance it issued on April 27, saying it expects to earn $3.90 to $4.80 a share this year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting earnings of $4.44 a share this year for Countrywide.

The stock closed at $38.32 Tuesday, or eight times the high end of its 2006 guidance. The multiple falls to 7.7 when using the 2007 Thomson First Call estimate of $5 a share. The stock is up about 13% since the start of this year.