Tuesday, 12 August 2008

There's nothing like leverage

From a recent Hussman Funds post, Nervous Bunny:
if we include the fair value of preferred equity, we find that on a fair value basis, Fannie Mae is operating at a gross leverage multiple of 72.7 (total assets comprised primarily of mortgage loans, divided by shareholder equity). In other words, a slight 1.4% deterioration in the value of Fannie's book of assets will wipe out all of the remaining shareholder equity. This makes Long Term Capital Management look like a conservative strategy.
Obviously if we don't include the prefs, it's harder to compute the leverage as Fannie has negative equity on a fair value basis. So while Hank might have no plans to put more cash into Fannie and Freddie, it will only take a small fall in their assets before he has to.

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