Investors ran screaming from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Monday, worried that the two giant government-sponsored mortgage financiers would have to raise fresh capital. Fannie and Freddie shares were down by as much as 18 percent and 23 percent, respectively, at the height of the sell-off, according to the Financial Times. A Lehman Brothers analyst (really, should he be saying much?) said an accounting change could, in theory, force the two biggest U.S. mortgage financiers to raise an additional $75 billion in capital.
“The Lehman analyst, Bruce Harting, said he believed Fannie and Freddie would be exempt from the accounting rule,” the Times reports. “However, the sharp market reaction to his report highlighted the continuing worries about the breadth and depth of the credit crunch.”