In what has become a quarterly ritual, Freddie Mac on Thursday reported record fourth-quarter earnings while shrugging off the danger of political risk this year.

Fourth-quarter net income rose almost 12% from a year earlier, to $663 million, or 89 cents per diluted common share, hitting analysts' estimates. Full-year net income grew 15%, to $2.547 billion, as did per-share earnings, to $3.40. It was Freddie's 30th consecutive year of profitability, and the 19th straight that its returns on common equity exceeded 20%.

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