Fannie Mae posted its fifth consecutive quarterly loss -- $29 billion, or $13 per share -- after taking a write-down on tax-deferred assets, which have become controversial. The largest provider of funding for U.S. residential mortgages said in October that it would write down "substantially all" of its deferred-tax assets. Accounting rules generally allow deferred-tax assets to offset future taxes but only if the company can show that it will return to profitability.

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