I strongly believe that labeling the condition of the stock market based on arbitrary “percentage changes” up or down is absurd. But then again most attributes of the current stock market are sublimely ridiculous, if not outright Orwellian.
But, what the heck. If down 20% is how you want to define a “bear market,” then a portfolio of Lennar (LEN, down 24%), Beazer (BZH, down 24%) and KB Homes (KBH, down 22%) are in definitive bear markets and heading lower, as are several other homebuilder stocks. This is a fact that intentionally goes unreported by Wall Street and Wall Street’s hand-puppet, the mainstream financial media (CNBC, Fox Biz, Bloomberg, Wall St Journal, Marketwatch, etc).
Homebuilders maliciously exploit a GAAP loophole that enables them to remove “interest expense” from the SEC-filed income statement. This artificially boosts reported GAAP and non-GAAP net income/earnings per share. I review this using Beazer as an example in the last issue of the Short Seller’s Journal.
The nature of the “bull market” in housing is widely misunderstood. As such, the easiest area of the market to make money shorting stocks is the homebuilding sector. I can say with certainty that 80% of the money I’m making shorting stocks is with homebuilder puts. It’s a boring sector but the percentages moves in these stocks makes it easy to “scalp” profits and to set-up low risk, highly profitable long term short positions.
Right now homebuilders are behaving like an ATM machine for short-sellers.
The Short Seller’s Journal is a unique weekly newsletter that provides truth-seeking insight on the economy and presents ideas for making money shorting stocks (including put option and capital management strategies). Learn how to use the homebuilders as your own ATM here: Short Seller’s Journal.
Are they omitting it, or capitalizing it in construction costs?
Capitalizing it. But that’s a gimmick. It’s a cash expense upfront but doesn’t get included in costs until
the home is sold. The home may or may not get sold. If you look at just the income statement, you might think
the homebuilders do not have any debt, yet they are among the most leveraged stocks.
I agree. Their business is building homes for sale and capitalizing interest should not be allowed, period, as it’s a current cost of their operating business.
Interesting to see LGI Homes run up before their earnings release, then give it all back and then some.