(Bloomberg) -- Annaly Capital Management Inc.’s Wellington Denahan, head of the largest mortgage real-estate investment trust, told investors less than three months ago that reports REITs could threaten U.S. financial stability were as misleading as the media frenzy over shark attacks in 2001.

Since the May 2 comments, shares of the companies, which use borrowed money to make $400 billion in credit market bets, have dropped about 19 percent and the value of their assets has plunged after the Federal Reserve triggered a flight from bond funds by signaling plans to slow its debt-buying program.

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