Drop income is a component of our net income accounted for as net gain from investments on our statement of operations and therefore excluded from our Core Earnings. During the third quarter of 2012, the Company generated drop income of approximately $36.9 million, or $0.23 per diluted share, compared to approximately $15.0 million, or $0.13 per diluted share, during the second quarter of 2012. Core Earnings plus drop income was $0.48 per diluted share during the third quarter of 2012 compared to $0.51 during the second quarter of 2012. The $0.03 quarter-over-quarter decrease in Core Earnings plus drop income per diluted share was generally the result of a lower adjusted interest rate spread net of hedge, which decreased to 1.41% during the third quarter of 2012, compared to 1.82% during the second quarter of 2012. The Company sold approximately $5.5 billion of Agency RMBS during the third quarter of 2012 generating $27.3 million in net realized gain. By making these sales, the Company was able to reinvest in the forward market to take advantage of favorable pricing of Agency RMBS. As a result, drop income increased during third quarter of 2012. The Company made $10.9 billion of forward purchases during the third quarter of 2012, with weighted average drop of approximately $0.19 per $100.00 par value per month, compared to $5.1 billion of Agency RMBS forward purchases in the second quarter of 2012 with weighted average drop of approximately $0.18 per $100.00 par value per month.
The Company utilizes forward settling transactions for the majority of its purchases. This enables the Company to purchase assets with specified stipulations, such as average loan size and/or age, and/or percentage of loans in a particular state. This customization enables the Company to more effectively manage prepayments. In addition, forward settling purchases allow the Company to obtain an asset at a discount (also referred to as “drop”) to its current market value; however, the Company does not receive interest income on the asset until the forward transaction settles. Obtaining assets at a discount to market value reduces the prepayment impact and is accretive to net asset value.
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