In examining my chartbook this weekend, I came across this possible short opportunity. This is Wyndham Worldwide, a resort/timeshare company.
The stock appears to have just completed an ending diagonal. In classic TA, this would be known as a “bearish rising wedge.” We can see that the wedge has been broken and backtested from underneath, which is also a bearish signal.
Wyndham Worldwide was a fantastic short play in 2007-2008 when, in the span of 16 months, it dropped from $36.50 all the way down to $2.38. It subsequently rallied to its recent high of $36.60. Besides the chart, what indicates Wyndham could be a solid short play?
For those who are interested in fundamentals: Wyndham is a spin-off of the old Cendant Corporation. Wyndham’s primary sources of revenue are its vacation-related business divisions. Wyndham is the world’s largest hotel franchisor, the world’s largest timeshare-exchange network (the RCI division), and the world’s largest vacation ownership (timeshare) company. I expect these businesses, especially timeshare, to get hit hard in the current/coming recession. During 2008, Wyndham’s timeshare sales took a haircut to the tune of roughly 40%, with most of that loss coming after the mid-point in the year as the stock market deteriorated.
Timeshare is becoming a dead business model anyway, for two reasons: 1) the real estate market has collapsed, and 2) use of the internet has become widespread. It’s hard to sell a “brand-new” timeshare when someone can go on eBay and buy the exact same timeshare for pennies on the dollar.
Additionally, the timeshare division (“Wyndham Vacation Ownership”) writes much of their own paper. It seems probable they are holding onto a good chunk of marginal paper, plenty of which is sure to be at risk for default — especially since the only thing people “lose” when their timeshare gets foreclosed is the right to use said timeshare. There’s no repo man who shows up and rips “a week” out of the building while the wife is crying and the kids are clutching their beach towels, screaming, “But Daddy, where will we vacation now?” so it’s not terribly traumatic.
(In the interest of accuracy: Wyndham uses points, not weeks, but you get the idea.)
Many owners are certain to see default as preferrable to continuing to pay their monthly loan and maintenance fees. Maintenance fees alone on the average Wyndham timeshare are about $70 per month. If you owned a mortgaged timeshare and had to prioritize where to allot your dwindling money in a depression, the timeshare would likely be the first payment to go.
Here are the charts: