Fannie Mae said Wednesday its fourth-quarter net income was 74 cents per common share, or $794 million, up 9% from 65 cents per common share, or $712.1 million, from a year ago.

Earnings for 1997 were $2.83 per common share, or $3.056 billion, up 14% from $2.48 per common share and $2.725 billion for 1996.

"They're growing nicely now," but not at a "blow-out" rate, said analyst Kenneth A. Posner of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. Mr. Posner said the fourth quarter was "a nice indicator of future trends."

Fannie said credit-related losses fell to $352.3 million in 1997 from $423.5 million a year earlier. That reflected a fall in chargeoffs to $77.3 million, from $209.8 million the prior year. However, foreclosed property expenses increased to $275 million, up from $213.7 million.

Fannie reported $1.8 million in chargeoffs for the fourth quarter, down from $48.4 million for the period a year ago. Fannie took no loss provisions for the quarter, versus a $50 million provision a year earlier. - Joshua Brockman

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