The Securities and Exchange Commission's order making it more difficult to short sell 19 financial stocks, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, may have helped reduce the volume of shorting in the affected stocks and helped to boost their prices. The announcement of the SEC's rule coincided with the bottom of the financial stocks' bear market. Determining the rule's overall impact is difficult because many factors were in play. The temporary rule expired Tuesday, and the SEC said it will study the results.

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