Freddie Mac's second-quarter net income grew 33.3%, to $552 million, and earnings per share rose 32%, to 74 cents, beating analysts' consensus by 3 cents, according to First Call Corp.

Freddie's second-quarter report was a "positive surprise," said Thomas O'Donnell, an analyst at Salomon Smith Barney. The period was characterized by "higher-than-expected net interest income, solid mortgage portfolio growth, a wider margin, and sharply improved credit quality," he said in a research note.

Net interest income from Freddie's mortgage investments grew 37.3%, to $640 million. Management and guarantee fee income was up 7.7%, to $349 million. Guarantee fees averaged 19.9 basis points, down from 20.3 in the first quarter.

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