In May, Freddie announced it would raise $5.5 billion to shore up its wounded balance sheet. Its cousin Fannie Mae similarly announced it would raise capital and did so within a few days. Freddie still hasn’t done it and its stock has dropped 40 percent since then.
Freddie’s delay is stoking concern among investors that the mortgage giant is having trouble raising fresh money to strengthen its balance sheet, which lacks a strong cushion. And the longer Freddie waits, the more shares it might have to issue, causing even more pain for existing shareholders.
Grim economic news
In economic news, home-equity lines of credit are turning delinquent at an increasing rate, with 1.1 percent delinquent in the first quarter, up from 0.6 percent a year ago, the Journal says on A3.
The paper says in a separate A3 story that some in Washington are starting to urge another stimulus package as it becomes more apparent that the current one isn’t going to make a lasting difference.
American Airlines will lay off about 7,000 workers—8 percent of its total—by the end of this year, the Times says on C1.
The U.S. office market showed signs of weakening with rent growth slowing and vacancies increasing slightly in the second quarter, the Journal says on A2.
Some suburban office buildings are suffering from increased gas prices, as companies shift away from locating in places that require employees to drive long distances. In New York’s Long Island, rents declined 0.3% last quarter. One owner there, Metropolitan Realty Associates, is passing out free gas cards to commercial brokers as an incentive for showing tenants its blocks of empty space.