Investors are wondering how much longer they can count on Countrywide Financial's ( CFC) dividend. The big lender's shares swooned to another 52-week low Wednesday amid deepening problems in the mortgage and housing markets. The stock has dropped 70% off its February highs to lows not seen since March 2003. Wall Street expects big losses -- $1.26 a share, going by the Thomson Financial analyst consensus estimate -- when the Calabasas, Calif., company reports third-quarter earnings Friday morning. But that's not all: Fred Cannon, an analyst at Keefe Bruyette & Woods, is expecting the company to suspend its 15-cent quarterly dividend as well. Countrywide didn't comment, but Cannon says the move -- which stands to save Countrywide some $350 million annually -- "would be the prudent thing to do." Citing liquidity and capital issues at the company, he continues, "In a liquidity crisis, cash is a good thing to keep." To be sure, Countrywide's dividend isn't very sizable when compared to other bank-oriented lenders such as Washington Mutual ( WM) or Bank of America ( BAC). Nor do investors typically look to Countrywide when seeking income from dividend payments, observers say. Still, a dividend cut would be another black eye for Countrywide at a time when it has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. CEO Angelo Mozilo has been pilloried for selling millions of dollars in company stock even as Countrywide shares plunge. Some investors have taken to calling for his resignation, while others have questioned Countrywide's business practices. Adding to the pressure, regulators have begun looking at the propriety of Mozilo's stock sales.