Thursday, May 7, 2015

Making a Beilfuss over nothing

Headline writers at the WSJ say;

Fannie Mae Profit Drops on Derivative Loss, Lower Credit Income

while the actual reporting of Lisa Beilfuss and Joe Light is somewhat less scary;
Mortgage-finance company Fannie Mae will send the U.S. Treasury $1.8 billion in June, after posting a first-quarter profit that declined sharply from a year earlier, thanks largely to a sizable derivative loss and a drop in credit-related income.
That payment brings the total amount returned to taxpayers to $138.2 billion.
 Scoreboard watchers take note;
Fannie... was put into a conservatorship by the U.S. government in September 2008 after crisis-era losses. Fannie received $116.1 billion in bailout funds ....
Then, for those who bother to read (15 paragraphs into the piece) to near the bottom;
Fannie reported derivative losses of $1.9 billion in the first quarter, up from $1.2 billion a year ago. Earlier this week, Freddie reported a $2.4 billion derivative loss. For accounting purposes, the companies mark derivatives to the market price, even as they carry many of hedged investments at cost. Because of that mismatch, derivatives can show a loss when rates fall, even though the effect should even out over time. [our bold]
 And possibly amount to nothing. And, finally;
Under the terms of their bailouts, the companies can’t build capital buffers and instead send nearly all of their profits to the government.

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