Freddie Mac seized a market opportunity on Tuesday to announce that it would begin a public offering of common stock to help it reach new growth targets for its mortgage portfolio.

"Freddie is one of the few companies that can issue common stock because the stock is up," said Thomas O'Donnell, senior analyst for Salomon Smith Barney. Throughout the recent turmoil, analysts saw Fannie Mae and Freddie's stocks as defensive, placing them among the few financial services stocks able to weather economic downturns.

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