After a spectacular 1998, shares of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have been in a rut-or as analysts put it, a "trading range"-this year.

Last year Fannie Mae's stock rose 29.6% and Freddie's 53%. But Fannie was down 3.55% and Freddie 1.45% through midday Friday, according to Salomon Smith Barney. Shares of government-sponsored enterprises, which also include Sallie Mae, have slipped 5.1% on average-while the Dow Jones industrial average soared 17.9%.

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