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Fannie and Freddie: Thursday Financial Stock Winners (Update 2)

Freddie's preferred Series Z shares, with a $25 par value and FMCKJ ticker, rose 1,2% to close at $8.20. The shares have gained 369% since closing at $1.75 at the end of last year.

Politicians in Washington have shown no inclination to help rehabilitate Fannie and Freddie so they can resume operating as privately held companies as they did before the credit crisis. The dividend gravy train also helps reduce the federal budget deficit.

With the GSEs continuing to purchase the lion's share of mortgage loans originated in the United States and holding $4.7 trillion in mortgage loans on their balance sheets as of Sept. 30, institutional investors holding common and junior preferred shares of Fannie and Freddie see real value. These investors are hoping that whatever "resolution" of the GSEs Washington comes up with, something will be left for them.

In the meantime, several institutional investors, including Washington Federal (WAFD), Perry Capital and Bruce Berkowitz's Fairholme Funds have sued the government for destroying private shareholders' property.

The ongoing Fannie and Freddie story is a fascinating one, especially since the junior preferred shares still trade at such significant discounts to par. A court victory against the government could lead to a killing for private investors.

Then again, Thursday was " Twitter (TWTR) Day." Following the pricing on Wednesday of the company's initial public offering at $26 a share, the shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday at $45.10 and held their own, closing at $44.90. Not bad day's work for investors lucky or well-enough connected to get in on the IPO.

The broad indices were all down sharply, despite the Twitter excitement and the huge pop for shares of Geron (GERN), after the biopharmaceutical company announced the results of its imetelstat drug trials.

Investors were less than thrilled after the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that the United States economy expanded at an annualized rate of 2.8% during the third quarter, increasing from a GDP growth rate of 2.5% during the second quarter. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had on average estimated the third-quarter GDP growth rate would decline to 1.9%.
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