Selecting what one industry expert described as "the creme de la creme of the money managers," the Federal Reserve designated BlackRock, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Pimco and Wellington Management to maintain $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities that the Fed plans to buy by June. By moving quickly on the program, a Credit Suisse analyst said, the Fed could bring the average mortgage interest rate down to 4.75%, compared with the current 5.22%, which is already down from October's high of 6.46%.

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