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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Bank of America, Walter Investment Management, Ocwen Financial, Nationstar Mortgage Holdings and Morgan Stanley

CHICAGO, Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog includeBank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC), Walter Investment Management Corp. (AMEX:WAC), OcwenFinancial Corp. (NYSE:OCN), NationstarMortgage Holdings Inc. (NYSE:NSM) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

BofA to Continue Selling MSRs

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) is again considering the sale of mortgage servicing rights (MSRs). This time, MSRs worth more than $100 billion are up for sale. BofA is taking is step to scale down its non-core operations and further strengthen the balance sheet.

Additionally, given the new capital regulations, servicing of loans is becoming a costly affair for the banks. BofA's mortgage servicing expenses has shot up tremendously over the last few quarters. In the third quarter of 2012, it stood at $3.4 million as the company had to hire employees to work with those customers who are late in loan repayments.

At the same time, specialized mortgage-servicing companies, such as Walter Investment Management Corp. (AMEX:WAC), OcwenFinancial Corp. (NYSE:OCN) and NationstarMortgage Holdings Inc. (NYSE:NSM), are capitalizing on such sales and building their businesses. Over the last couple of years, these companies have been purchasing MSRs from major banks, including BofA and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), and enhancing their organic growth prospect.

Earlier in the week, two definitive agreements have been signed by BofA with Walter Investment and Nationstar related to the sale of MSRs on some residential mortgage loans. The company stated that MSRs worth $215 billion were sold to Nationstar for $1.3 billion, while Walter Investment is purchasing MSRs on $93 billion worth of mortgages for $519 million. Also, in June 2012, the company announced a deal to sell $10.4 billion worth of MSRs to Nationstar Mortgage Holdings' wholly-owned subsidiary – Nationstar Mortgage LLC.

Currently, BofA retains a Zacks Rank #3, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. We believe that BofA's plan to vend off MSRs will be positive for the company and would enable it to act towards its goal of focusing on core and profitable operations. This would enhance investors' confidence in the stock, and hence there is a chance for upward estimate revisions. This in turn, could also lead to an improvement in its Zacks Rank.

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Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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