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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac leave the NYSE

June 16, 2010 |  7:59 am

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are taking their stocks off the New York Stock Exchange after shares in both companies fell to around $1 for an extended period.

The federally backed mortgage financing companies began the process of delisting after being ordered to do so by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which said that the move "does not constitute any reflection on either enterprise’s current performance or future direction."

The New York Stock Exchange does not allow stocks to continue to be traded if they are worth less than $1 for 30 days, unless there is an immediate plan for raising the price.

The delisting points to the continuing difficulties the companies have encountered since being taken under federal conservatorship in September 2008 during the peak of the financial crisis. The companies, which were at the center of the mortgage meltdown, have taken nearly $150 billion in federal aid and have shown few signs of being able to pay it back.

The shares in both companies will continue to be traded, but through the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board, which is generally for smaller, more thinly traded stocks.

Freddie Mac shares were worth $1.22 on Tuesday and had fallen to 67 cents on Wednesday. Fannie Mae closed on Tuesday at 92 cents and was down to 53 cents on Wednesday.

-- Nathaniel Popper