Saturday, 9 August 2008

Ball of steel or brains of lead?

In what is either a strong buy signal for the market or a strong sell signal on the stock, MBIA has announcing that it was not changing its projection of losses on its mortgage-related exposures. The FT story is here. Yes, they had some bizarre FAS 159 gains (CNN is here and my take on the rules is here): yes, they resumed a share buy-back programme. But ignoring all that, if their actuarial loss estimates for RMBS have not changed, either that is a very useful datapoint on where realised default losses actually will be, or their actuaries are fools and it is time to short the stock again. It will be interesting to see which.

Update. John Dizard has pointed out the possible value in the monolines as a vulture play on the eventual losses on RMBS. I can see the idea, but I'd like to know more about the implied residual value of the monolines given the current equity price. Are they really cheap yet?

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