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What a Week: Closing Kick

Gaymard said Asian countries with huge dollar reserves will be punished and long-term interest rates in the U.S. will rise without coordinated action around the world.

The dollar also weakened on the expectation that the Bush administration will not change its policy of "benign neglect" towards the dollar in 2005. The greenback fell to a record low against the euro Thursday and dropped vs. the yen.

While a severe, rapid decline in the dollar could roil the markets next year, another recent development has the potential to upset stocks, too.

This week, Fannie Mae's (FNM) Chief Executive Officer Franklin Raines and Chief Financial Officer J. Timothy Howard were ousted from the company after the Securities and Exchange Commission said the company broke accounting rules.

Fannie Mae now has to restate its earnings to incorporate $9 billion of derivatives losses. Raines said Fannie had "always made good faith efforts to get its accounting right," but some question whether that was really the case.

And with the Justice Department and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight also investigating, Fannie Mae, the largest source of money in the U.S. mortgage industry, is in a precarious situation.

For now, of course, the glass is half full for equity investors. Fannie ended the week little changed and financial stocks overall rallied, aided in part by gains in Morgan Stanley (MWD) after the company reported good earnings on Tuesday.

In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, Byrne doesn't own or short individual stocks. She also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. She invites you to send your feedback.
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