Securities analysts and others who keep close tabs on the Federal National Mortgage Association have expressed some concern recently that the U.S. government's decision to make direct student loans in competition with Sallie Mae might set a precedent that could bode ill for Fannie Mae. Analyst Gary Gordon of PaineWebber Inc. dismissed such fears in a recent article in the firms "Porfolio Manager's Spotlight."

Fannie Mae's stock has suffered this year from the travails of Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae went from a company with a significant advantage to its competitor banks to a company with a significant disadvantage to its soon-to-be competitor, the U.S. government.

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