I’ve done extensive research on all of them in the past and I am research-current with all three companies. I do own shares of MIC from the summer of 2012.
The first, which should be no surprise to regular readers here, deals with mortgage insurance. The second and third deal with direct financing of home mortgages (both first-line and refinancing). If a mortgage is required to be insured (which is usually the case for higher ratio mortgages and refinancings) then CMHC and Genworth MI get involved and charge a premium in exchange for the lender being able to give out a lower rate of interest.
HCG today announced that its mortgage originations were down from the previous year and its stock price cratered roughly 15% as of the time of this writing.
Genworth MI is down about 4% in sympathy, although Equitable Group is in the “white noise” range for the markets (i.e. relatively unchanged).
A downturn in mortgage originations will materially affect HCG and EQB’s profitability, while this has more of a muted effect on Genworth MI as cash proceeds from mortgage insurance are not accounted for as revenues until they are recognized according to prior experience (net of expected default losses).
The takeaway to this message is that if Genworth MI gets disproportionately trashed in the upcoming days, it is likely unwarranted as the fundamental profitability in Genworth MI is not through volume, but rather the solvency of the lenders in question. Genworth MI also has the advantage of being able to run off its insurance book and still receive a boost in market value as it is trading below book value, while HCG and EQB are trading above book value.
Option implied volatility does suggest that institutional interest suspects further volatility. Tread carefully as always!