Cramer: We Paid for Countrywide CEO’s Mistakes
Angelo Mozilo, former CEO of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, will pay $67.5 million to settle civil fraud and insider-trading charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Cramer thinks he still “got the better of the deal.”
The SEC claimed Mozilo, and two other former executives, misled investors about the quality of the loans on the Countrywide's books. The civil complaint also accused Mozilo of acting on his inside knowledge of the company's precarious state when he sold shares between November 2006 and October 2007 ahead of its collapse, reaping more than $139 million.
Mozilo “took advantage of an era,” Cramer said, one where subprime lending helped to fuel rampant home buying—and in the end, the eventual housing bust as those borrowers failed to replay their loans. “He understood the notion of giving mortgages to everybody. Unfortunately that was a mistake.”
“He was a chief purveyor of the era,” Cramer said, “and I think we all paid for his understanding of the era.”
Elsewhere in the market, J.P. Morgan is out with a note on how e-book gross margins are improving for Amazon.com . That in turn will improve the online retailer’s overall gross margin profile and most likely prompt analysts to raise their earnings estimates for the company. Cramer noted the importance of this report, saying, “Gross margins have been the determinate of where this stock trades.”
“Amazon remains a favorite of mine,” he said, “I still believe it is the premier retailer in this country.”
Cramer adjusted his previous tepid call on Google , made Thursday, saying the quarter showed strength in the search giant’s businesses that he hadn’t expected, especially in mobile advertising.
“I really think that Google is the mobile story,” Cramer said.
Finally, the Financial Select Sector SPDR usually brings down all its constituents stocks, but US Bancorp seems to be doing better. He credited the bank’s higher underwriting standards. He also said that Goldman Sachs “is beginning to become the leader in the banking game.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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