Early Briefing

*Though Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been arguing that they should be granted authority to buy more mortgages to help ease a credit crunch, both companies reduced their mortgage-related investments in September, widening the gap between their holdings and the limits on those holdings. See story

*Unemployment in Northern Virginia fell to 2.1 percent in September from 2.3 percent in the corresponding period last year as strong employment growth in high-tech and government contracting businesses continued to fuel one of the nation's strongest job markets. See story

*Century-old Lionel of Chesterfield, Mich., and MTH Electric Trains of Columbia have forged a tentative agreement to settle a multimillion-dollar, seven-year-old lawsuit over allegations that Lionel stole train designs from MTH, which operates as Mike's Train House. See story

*As part of a proposed class-action settlement, Sprint Nextel of Reston has agreed to provide departing Sprint PCS customers with the code necessary to unlock their phones' software. That would allow the phones to operate on any network using the CDMA technology. Competitors using CDMA include Verizon Wireless and Alltel, though the Sprint handset would still have to meet those networks' technical standards to work. The codes won't work for Nextel-branded phones and don't allow switching to AT&T or T-Mobile, which use a different technology.

*Lockheed Martin said a U.S. grand jury probe into its missile-detection technology patent applications has been closed and no charges will be filed. The investigation was closed in August, about 17 months after the company received a subpoena in March 2006, the Bethesda company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

*Fannie Mae of the District said John C. Sites Jr., a consultant to investment adviser Wexford Capital, has been elected to the company's board. Sites also serves as a general partner of a private-equity fund of investment and advisory firm Rock Creek Capital Advisors. He was formerly an executive vice president and director of Bear Stearns.

By Terri Rupar  |  October 27, 2007; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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