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Two Ways To Play: WaMu Applies for Credit

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Strengthen your portfolio in good times and bad.

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Bloomberg reports that after being burned by the subprime mortgage meltdown, Washington Mutual (WM) is attempting its recovery process by making a push into credit cards.

The biggest U.S. savings and loan first took the plunge into the credit card business with its $6.45 billion takeover of Providian Financial in 2005. Since then, accounts have jumped 56% to 14.6 million as of February of this year and the company has run up the highest proportion of overdue loans among the top 15 providers.

Bank spokesman Alan Elias said Washington Mutual has taken a "very prudent, fiscally conservative" approach to the credit card business and denied that it's a subprime credit-card company.

To date, WM has written down over $9 billion in assets and raised $12.1 billion.

From the Bull Pen: Bulls looking for financial exposure might find a play in Hudson City Bancorp (HCBK). Sell-stops can be set below the 200 DMA ($16.20).

From the Bear Cave: Is Washington Mutual following the correct strategy? Bears know the issues involved with consumer credit. Just take a look at the chart on American Express (AXP).
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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