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FHFA assures investors after Fannie, Freddie downgrade

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The Federal Housing Finance Agency assured investors Monday that securities issued by the government-sponsored enterprises are sound, pushing back against a downgrade from Standard & Poor's earlier in the morning. On Friday, S&P downgraded the risk on U.S. debt to double-A-plus from its long-held triple-A rating. Then, on Monday, the ratings agency downgraded several securities backed by the U.S. as part of the trickle-down effect. However, the FHFA echoed guidance from banking regulators Friday night, when it told investors the weighted risk for Treasury securities and others issued by government entities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were unchanged. Analysts also tried to temper shaky investors over the weekend, saying the downgrade would cause little disruption in the cashflow of mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the GSEs. The GSEs were taken into conservatorship in September 2008. They have since pulled a combine $168 billion from the Treasury and paid back a combined $26.3 billion, though Freddie has yet to report second-quarter numbers. "The government commitment to ensure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have sufficient capital to meet their obligations, as provided for in the Treasury's senior preferred stock purchase agreement with each enterprise, remains unaffected by the Standard & Poor's action," said FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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