Shares in mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac plunged while their debt soared Monday, one day after the U.S. government took over the companies, as investors bet the action would wipe out stockholders but fully guarantee their bonds.
Large holders of their debt, including overseas central banks, had shown increasing nervousness over their financial health. The take-over came as welcome news to China and Japan, the biggest buyers of the two companies' bonds, who praised Washington for its rescue for the mortgage giants.
Not everyone supports the government's actions. Fast Money viewer Mitchell B. writes, "Both of these companies, are and were, 'government sponsored enterprises', Fannie in 1938 and Freddie in 1970. The government went begging to the public to buy shares in these companies, after all, weren't we investing in AMERICA!!! As shareholders, are (we) just supposed to roll over and eat it so that the Asian Banks can be guaranteed?"
However, stock markets around the world seemed to react positively to the news and surged on hopes that the takeover might put a floor under troubled financial markets.
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