Friedman Billings keeps its outperform rating on LendingTree (TREE).
Analyst Chris Penny says everything in the company's fourth quarter report looked solid. He notes LendingTree benefits from a strong market, but says the other side of the story is that short interest in the stock has gone up over the last couple of quarters.
Penny notes that the bearish case is the Internet-based loan clearinghouse can't continue its strong trend if the refinancing market were to turn the other way. He says LendingTree is the clear leader in its space, and thinks even if interest rates went up then the company would still benefit because it's the low-cost provider. He maintains his $16.50 target.