Freddie Mac

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The smaller of the two mortgage giants, Freddie Mac has stayed on its feet because of the roughly $64 billion in government bailout money it’s received. Along with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac still guarantees or owns half of all U.S. residential mortgages, and the government support has allowed both companies to more or less freeze time on their balance sheets for years now.The Obama administration has outlined plans to phase out government support for Freddie and Fannie, but there’s a long road ahead: By the administration’s estimate, that process could take up to seven years. —S.D.

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General Electric

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Jeffrey Immelt’s decade-long tenure as CEO has been one of “decline, mistakes, and wealth destruction,” Fortune concluded recently. And the nuclear disaster in Japan, involving GE-designed reactors, hasn’t helped the conglomerate’s reputation.But there’s still cause for optimism. GE’s order backlog for core industrial products like turbines and locomotive engines stands at $175 billion, and could grow if plans for a $53 billion high-speed rail project ever win Congressional approval. Meanwhile, Immelt has been allocating some $20 billion of capital annually into energy-oriented businesses. No wonder shares have nearly tripled since the depths of the financial crisis. —P.N.

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Fannie Mae

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Sure, it’s still living off a lifeline from the federal government. But that hasn’t stopped Fannie from leaping into the top 5 this year, up from no. 81. It’s mostly new accounting rules, though, that have pushed Fannie so high on the 500.Indeed, Fannie’s troubles are far from over. In April, the SEC began investigating statements then-CEO Daniel Mudd made in 2007 to Congress that may have misrepresented Fannie’s health. And FNMA stock has done so poorly that the New York Stock Exchange delisted it last June. —Shelley Dubois, reporter

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