Updated from 9:28 a.m. ESTCountrywide Financial ( CFC) posted a fourth-quarter loss that was wider than expected, but better than the mortgage lender's disastrous third-quarter results. In the final three months of the year, the Calabasas, Calif.-based lender, shaken by turmoil in the mortgage industry, posted a loss of $422 million, or 79 cents a share. That compares with a net profit of $622 million, or $1.01 a share in the year-earlier period and a third-quarter loss of $1.2 billion, or $2.85 a share. Fourth-quarter revenue dropped 58% to $1.15 billion. Countrywide had said in announcing its third-quarter results that it expected to turn a profit in the fourth quarter and for 2008. Analysts expected the company to post a loss of 30 cents a share in the fourth quarter, according to Thomson Financial. For the full year, Countrywide reported a loss of $704 million, or $2.03 a share -- the company's first full-year net loss in more than 30 years, it said. "Excluding the impact of the below market strike price of the convertible preferred stock issued in the third quarter of 2007, the diluted loss for the full year was $1.30 a share," Countrywide said. "While considerably improved from the previous quarter, Countrywide's results for the fourth quarter of 2007 were adversely impacted by further credit deterioration across the industry and continued liquidity in the secondary mortgage markets," CEO and co-founder Angelo Mozilo said in a company statement. "These factors resulted in increased charges associated with the building of higher loss reserves on our residential loan portfolio as well as impairment related to
Since July, Countrywide has cut its workforce by approximately 11,000 employees. It has taken restructuring charges totaling $145 million, $87 million of which was taken in the fourth quarter. Shares recently were up 5.2% to $6.26 in Tuesday morning trading.