Mortgage giant Freddie Mac's first-quarter loss widened on higher credit-related expenses and another $7.1 billion in loan writedowns, though the red ink narrowed sharply from the $23.9 billion loss posted in the fourth quarter.

"This was another difficult quarter for Freddie Mac, as declining home prices and the weak economy continued to take a toll on our results," said interim Chief Executive John Koskinen. "While we expect the coming quarters to be difficult, we are seeing preliminary signs of slowing in home price declines as low mortgage rates and high affordability take hold."

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