Monday, September 8, 2008

Fannie and Freddie Shares Under $1

So, as predicted, this is pretty much it for private ownership of the two mortgage GSEs. Last I looked, both Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) were trading around a dollar per share each. This is bad news if you bought at Fannies peak at a little over $60 before fall of 2007, or even last Friday at $7/share; or at Freddies Peak of over $60 throughout most of 2007, and $5 as of last Friday. Though the decline from $60 to under $10 per share was due to market activity, and ironically was even slowed down when interventionist measures were passed by congress—this final drop was due to conservatorship of the GSEs by the Treasury Department on Sunday.

This continues a pattern of government intervention first seen with Bear Stearns of rescuing bondholders with desregard to shareholders. I suppose it could be argued that shares were about to bottom out anyway so Treasury actions simply expedited the inevitable, however there was still market play to be had even in the sub-$10 range.

ADDENDUM [9/9/08]: As of tomorrow, Fannie and Freddie will be removed from the S&P 500 index.

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