Washington Mutual Miss
Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) missed forcasts, guided lower, is laying off 2900 people, and will look to cut $1 billion in costs. The CIO attributed the problem to "fewer people took out mortgages... banks competing for market share cut prices."
The tax refund and home equity refinancings accounted for a significant portion of final sales in Q2 and Q3 2003.
The fact that Washington Mutual's problems do not seem to be company specific indicate potential problems in the booming mortgage business and illustrate the extreme vulnerability to higher interest rates that this level of mortgage activity has.
I doubt the Fed will raise interest rates anytime soon, unless the market makes them.
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