Fannie Mae Leads U.S. Financials Higher

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Fannie Mae (FNMA) was the winner among major U.S. financial stocks on Monday, with shares rising more than 9% to close at $3.58.

The S&P 500 rose 0.7% to set a closing record of 1,847.7, as U.S. markets followed European markets higher. The move came after news that the Obama administration was working with European leaders on a financial rescue package for Ukraine, on the heels of that nation's removal of President Viktor Yanukovych over the weekend.

The KBW Bank index (I:BKX) rose 1.2% to 68.7, with all 24 component stocks showing gains. Morgan Stanley (MS) was the leader among large-cap banks, with shares rising 2.3% to close at $30.39.  Please see 'Too Big to Fail' Gets Even Bigger for more on stock valuations for Morgan Stanley and other large-cap banks.

Fannie Mae on Monday announced fourth-quarter earnings of $6.5 billion and said it would pay dividends totaling $7.2 billion to the government in March.

Fannie Mae and its sister company Freddie Mac (FMCC) are together known as the government sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, and were taken under government conservatorship at the height of the U.S. real estate crisis in September 2008.  Freddie's shares rose 6.2% to close at $3.44. 

For all of 2013, Fannie earned nearly $84 billion, with earnings boosted by a huge recovery of deferred tax assets, but following the payment of dividends on government-held senior preferred shares, common shareholders were left with a net loss of 25 cents a share.

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