Key mortgage lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae saw their shares plummet by half as Wall Street trading opened, before they recouped most of the losses. The Federal Reserve may give the two companies access to emergency credit facilities.
Shares of US mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recouped most losses after an early freefall of some 50 percent, as Freddie Mac turned positive in late trade.
In highly volatile trade, Freddie Mac plunged 51 percent after the opening and then recovered ground after a series of comments from US officials and a key US senator. At one point, shares were up 3.75 percent.
At 1905 GMT, Freddie's shares were up 1.8 percent at 8.15 dollars.
Fannie Mae, the other big government-chartered, shareholder-owned mortgage finance firm, lost as much as 49 percent before clawing back to show a loss of 11 percent in afternoon trade. Heading to the close, Fannie Mae was down 15 percent at 11.17 dollars.
As the markets were plunging, Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd said: "There is sort of a panic going on today, and that's not what ought to be. The facts don't warrant that reaction, in my view."
The senator added: "these institutions are ... fundamentally sound and strong."
Dodd said he had spoken with the chiefs of the two companies as well as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.
Asked about speculation that the two entities may have access to the Fed discount window, Dodd said: "I know that both the Fed and the Treasury are looking at various options ... including things like the discount window, that they're, I know, considering."
Date created : 2008-07-11