Mortgage insurer First American Financial Corp. (FAF
) slid -13.35% despite a good overall quarter. We believe the market was essentially confused. The company's official earnings per share were $0.33 versus the $0.42 consensus. The key reason for the miss, however, was a large reserve charge dating to the 2006-2007 period. Without the charge, earnings would have been roughly $0.44 per share. Revenues exceeded expectations by increasing +19%, and purchase orders were up +13%. Admittedly, those were trade-offs for refinancings, which were down -7%. Management was upbeat and optimistic about business, a perspective we think was fully justified. The stock now trades below 1x book, which we think is very cheap given its profitability, powerful market position and business trajectory.
From John Rogers
’ Ariel Appreciation Fund Second Quarter 2013 Commentary