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Taking Stock of the 23,000% Stock

Mortgage Image by Daniel Villar OnrubiaIn 2003, Fortune Magazine fingered a particular standout corporation as a superstar. It boasted the best market performance out of all financial service companies in the Fortune 500 and was coined the "23,000% Stock." In other words, for every $1,000 invested in this stock in 1982, the investor would have ended up with a balance of $230,000 in 2003. The 23,000% stock was Countrywide Financial. If you've heard the latest, its moniker is not quite as fitting as it once was.

Panic rose to epic proportions after the sub-prime mortgage mess; the dust cleared; and beleaguered sub-prime lender Countrywide appeared--its equity bearing battle wounds. Yesterday Bank of America came to the rescue with a $2 billion buyout of Countrywide stock. Alan Greenspan says there is a one in three chance of a recession by the end of the year. Where the market will head from here is still unknown, but the "23,000% Stock" is struggling to uphold its once glistening performance.

Mortgage Image by Daniel Villar Onrubia