Economy Briefs: Fannie Mae earns $1.8 billion in third quarter

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Mortgage giant Fannie Mae earned $1.8 billion from July through September, helped by an improving housing market that has lifted home prices.

The government-controlled company said Wednesday that it paid a dividend of $2.9 billion to the U.S. Treasury and sought no additional federal aid.

It was Fannie’s third profitable quarter since being taken over by the government during the 2008 financial crisis. The gain compares with a net loss of $5.1 billion in the same period last year.

A day earlier, its smaller sibling Freddie Mac announced earnings of $2.9 billion for the quarter. Freddie said it paid a dividend of $1.8 billion to the U.S. Treasury.

DEFENSE

Boeing shakes up shrinking business

Boeing is shaking up its shrinking defense division, putting some executives into new roles and reducing the number of managers.

It’s also disbanding its Missiles and Unmanned Airborne Systems division, spreading its work out among other Boeing units.

Boeing Co. makes military helicopters and planes, in addition to commercial jets used by airlines. The commercial airplane business has been expanding, but the defense business is suffering because of tight government spending in the U.S. and other countries.

Boeing is reducing the number of defense executives by 30 percent from 2010 levels. Spokesman Todd Blecher said much of that already has happened, and the last 10 percent of the cuts will come by the end of the year.

GREECE

Parliament ignores rioters, passes austerity measures

ATHENS — Greece’s Parliament passed a crucial austerity bill early Thursday in vote so close that it left the coalition government reeling from dissent.

The bill, which will further slash pensions and salaries, passed 153-128 in the 300-member Parliament. It came hours after rioters rampaged outside Parliament during an 80,000-strong demonstration against austerity, clashing with police who responded with tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons.

Approval of the cuts and tax increases worth $17 billion over two years was a big step for Greek efforts to secure the next installment of its international rescue loans and stave off imminent bankruptcy.

The country’s international creditors have demanded that the bill and the 2013 budget, expected to be voted on Sunday, pass before they consider releasing an already delayed 31.5 billion euro installment from Greece’s (euro) 240 billion bailout. Without it, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras says Greece will run out of money on Nov. 16.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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