Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. announced late Wednesday that its fourth quarter net loss available to common stockholders was $7.3 million (-15 cents per share), compared to a loss of $4.31 million (-9 cents) in the same period a year earlier. The loss was higher than the 3 cents per share analysts predicted, according to Thomson Financial. Shares in the Santa Monica-based real estate investment trust rose 2.7 percent to $6.01 prior to the earnings release after the market closed.

Shares in Countrywide Financial Corp. shed more than 7 percent Wednesday after Fitch Ratings cut the Calabasas-based lender's credit rating to "BBB-minus" from "BBB-plus." Fitch said the reason was because of increased losses tied to home loans, but it said the downgrade doesn't reflect doubt about Bank of America Corp.'s pending acquisition of Countrywide. The downgrade also takes the lender one step closer to "junk" status, which generally means more collateral is required to borrow money and certain pension funds and institutional investors will not own the company's securities. Shares in Countrywide closed down 7.1 percent to $4.75.

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