Updated with afternoon market action and additional information about preferred stock trading patterns.
Fannie Mae's common shares were up 4% in afternoon trading to 81 cents, while common shares of its sister company Freddie Mac (FMCC) were up 4.5% to 82 cents.
Fannie's common shares on Thursday sank 28%, following a gain of 80% over the previous two trading sessions. Freddie's common shares on Thursday dropped 28% on Thursday, after seeing a gain of 71% over the previous two days.The action in Fannie Mae's preferred shares remains very strong. For example, Fannie's preferred series E (FNMFM) shares, with a coupon of 5.10% and a par value of $50, rose were over 8% Friday afternoon to $12.25, after a gain of 115% over the previous two trading sessions. The preferred series E shares traded as high as $17 late Thursday morning. The trading interest in Freddie Mac's preferred shares has been more subdued. For example, Freddie's preferred series Z (FMCKJ) shares, with a coupon of 5.375% and a par value of $25, were down 1% to $3.15 Friday afternoon, after a gain of 5% over the previous two days. Then again, through Thursday's close at $3.20, the Freddie Mac preferred series Z shares were up 52% from a month earlier. Both mortgage giants were taken under government conservatorship by the Federal Housing Finance Agency in September 2008. At that point, common and preferred shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were considered worthless by most investors, who saw a very low probability for the government sponsored enterprises to resume operating as private companies, and very little prospect for the payment of dividends on existing preferred stock. This week's ride for the shares began on Tuesday, when The Wall Street Journal brought attention to a March 14 filing, when Fannie Mae said it would delay filing its annual 10-K report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Fannie said it would need extra time to analyze whether or not it could recapture some of its $61.5 billion valuation allowance for deferred tax assets (DTA), as of Sept. 30. The recapture of Fannie's DTA would provide a major boost to the company's effort to redeem $116.1 billion in preferred stock held by the U.S. Treasury, for bailout assistance since September 2008. Freddie Mac filed its 10-K on time, saying that the company's DTA valuation allowance was $31.7 billion as of Dec. 31. The government holds $72.2 billion in Freddie Mac preferred shares. Please see TheStreet's previous coverage, for much more information on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including:
- Why the preferred shares are a much better deal for investors than the common shares, by the numbers.
- Why some professional investors are sticking with GSE preferred shares, based on the preferred shares' superior position in the event Freddie and Freddie are wound-down or liquidated.
- Why the successful government bailout of American International Group was different from the bailout of the GSEs.
- How the DTA recapture robs one part of the U.S. Treasury to pay another.
- Possible ways forward for the U.S. housing finance market.
- Political pressure on FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco.