Two financial giants, Fannie Mae and H.F. Ahmanson & Co., have each embarked on recapitalization programs in recent months, but with divergent reactions from investors. While the shares of Fannie Mae have climbed briskly, Ahmanson's stock has been flat at best in a rising market.

Fannie Mae announced early last month that it was issuing $1 billion of preferred stock and would use most of the proceeds to repurchase common shares. It also split the shares four-for-one and donated $350 million to its own foundation.

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