Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said the government might not need to buy the full amount of mortgage-related securities it had indicated because a recovery is under way. Lockhart said the Fed originally made a point of saying it might buy as much as $200 billion in mortgage-agency debt and $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities. "So it's not inconceivable that we'll decide to do less," he said.

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