Savings and loans have some company in their vulnerability to falling interest rates. The drop of nearly 150 basis points in long-term rates since April has left real estate investment trusts that hold mortgages scrambling to protect their portfolios from loan prepayments.

A case in point is Capstead Mortgage Corp. On Dec. 8, the Dallas company increased its fourth-quarter dividend to 61.5 cents, from 61 cents for the third quarter, only to see its shares go into a free fall as investors focused on its statement that further dividend growth would be a challenge.

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