Saving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: The Pen Mightier Than the Sword

Are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac really still safe from the bankruptcy chamber? 24/7 Wall St. is looking for a reality check here and we find it surprising that the giant moves here have hardly taken on the attention deserved for such a dire situation. Fannie Mae (FNM) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (FMCC) are both surging to new 52-week highs and it may be an instance where this is simply the pen being mightier than the sword.

The Wall Street Journal previously brought attention to an SEC filing from last Thursday showing that Fannie Mae would delay its annual report because it needed more time to evaluate whether or not it could recapture some of its valuation allowance for deferred tax assets as of the end of 2012. It is no small sum either: $64.1 billion. That being said, traders, investors and speculators are all going to be paying close attention here.

As a reminder, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain under government conservatorship. They are mathematically bankrupt, but that is a different story. It is also hard to call companies bankrupt when their shares are up so much.

Fannie Mae shares are up a whopping 43% at $0.7468 on more than 66 million shares. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. shares are up 38% at $0.715 on about 30 million shares.

It is hard to imagine this being possible, but technically these companies might be eligible to get listed on proper non-OTC exchanges if there is another day of gains like this. Of course those share prices would have to remain above the $1.00 for 30 to 45 days, but that is another matter.

It seems odd to see that MBIA Inc. (NYSE: MBI) is down almost 4% at $11.35 after runs like this.

UPDATE FOR CLOSE: FNMA closed up 37% at $0.718 on more than 80 million shares; FMCC closed up almost 35% higher at $0.6998 on more than 36 million shares.

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