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Trading Fannie and Freddie

Monday, 25 Aug 2008 | 3:39 PM ET

In a strange twist, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are up Monday, Cramer said, while the Dow on the whole is down 236 points, largely due to pressure put on the market by those two government-sponsored enterprises.

Freddie Mac sold $2 billion in debt today, a sign that government takeover might not be necessary for the mortgage company or Fannie Mae . The stock stocks are up 76 cents and 64 cents, respectively with less than an hour left in trading.

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Still, “I can’t touch this,” Cramer said of Freddie. While the bond offering may seem positive, there’s always the specter of another downgrade a la Credit Suisse’s lowered rating on American International Group.

The question for Cramer was whether or not the preferred stocks of Fannie and Freddie were worth buying because they’ve come down so much already. There have been reports, however, that government intervention, if it’s needed, would wipe out the value of those preferreds. That would hurt JPMorgan Chase, Sovereign and other banks with major holdings in Fannie and Freddie preferred shares.

Switching to a different part of the financial sector, Cramer said Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld is “paralyzed” right now. Cramer said he doubted that Fuld’s leaving would signal the end of Lehman as an independent company. Also, if Citigroup and AIG are any indication, “"It doesn't seem to matter who is at the helm if the situation is bad," Cramer said. Wachovia’s Bob Steel is the exception.

Lastly, Cramer thinks that Nordson is taking undue punishment after missing an earnings report last Friday. Wall Street, he said, was expecting much more from a company traditionally thought of as a growth name.




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