Consumers' borrowing costs could go up as a result of the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. Standard & Poor's move "can do nothing but harm the market," according to Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics. "The question is how much?" S&P recently warned that if the U.S. credit rating suffers a downgrade, the ratings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also likely will be downgraded.

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