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Freddie Mac posts $8.6B profit in 4Q

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February 27, 2014 08:44 AM EST | AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage giant Freddie Mac posted net income of $8.6 billion for the October through December period, its ninth straight profitable quarter. Earnings were boosted by the continued rise in home prices, which reduced the amounts the company had to set aside to cover losses on mortgages.

Freddie's fourth-quarter profit reported Thursday nearly doubled from earnings of $4.5 billion in the last three months of 2012.

McLean, Va.-based Freddie said it will pay a dividend of $10.4 billion to the U.S. Treasury next month. Freddie already had repaid its full government bailout of $71.3 billion after paying its third-quarter dividend.

The government rescued Freddie and larger sibling Fannie Mae at the height of the financial crisis in September 2008. Together the companies received taxpayer aid totaling $187 billion.