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Stocks Surge After Fed Decides to Keep Interest Rates Low

Fed

Citing recent trouble on Wall Street, anemic job growth, and lags in the housing economy, the Federal Reserve made public that it will keep interest rates at historically low levels until 2013. The new language marks a market-rallying policy shift for the central bank, which previously kept mum about when it would hike up interest rates. A 429-point jump by the Dow followed a Federal Open Market Committee meeting in which the Fed's decision-makers reportedly failed to reach a consensus on interest rates.

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CMBS Spreads Widen, Signaling Bearishness

Following on the heels of debt downgrades and a bipolar Dow Jones Industrial Average, the market for commercial mortgage-backed securities sauntered back a few steps, showing declines in special servicing loans to 12.3 percent over the second quarter this year. Successive reports from analytics company Trepp and the Wall Street Journal spotted troubling trends for CMBS markets, with credit looking to further tighten and borrowers poised to shoulder the consequences. Performing loans also fell to 29.5 percent over June, down from March.

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What the GSE Downgrades Mean for Housing Markets

Standard & Poor├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós continued a bold streak it started Saturday by deflating debt credit ratings for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Monday, scaring investors and adding velocity to the Dow's 630-point plunge.

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Strong 2012 Predictions from Fiserv Case-Shiller Indexes

In opposition to the recently recorded declines, the Fiserv Case-Shiller Indexes predicts stable numbers around the country by 2012. Notable stats from the 380 markets that the survey examined include a forecasted rise in housing affordability to pre-crisis levels and an increase in home pricing strength near the start of 2012. The Fiserv Case-Shiller Home Price Insights, available now, indicate that housing affordability could rise, since current pricing is about 5 percent above data from 2000.

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Treasuries, Analysts Respond to U.S. Debt Downgrade

Markets and investors recoiled Saturday over news that ratings agency Standard & Poor's slapped U.S. Treasury debt with a downgrade, shifting credit ratings for the world's largest economy from the long-prized AAA rating to a weaker AA+ rating. In response, Treasury yields dipped over Monday, as housing analysts suggested that the hyped downgrade would hurt borrower confidence more than mortgage rates. Rather than run, investors bought up Treasuries Monday.

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AIG to Battle BAC

American International Group is heading to court with Bank of America. AIG filed a lawsuit Monday against the bank, targeting BAC├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós alleged misrepresentation of mortgage-backed securities. AIG├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós claims focus on BAC├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Merrill Lynch and Countrywide Financial components, and the entity is seeking over $10 billion in compensation in what could be the largest mortgage-security lawsuit ever filed by an individual investor. The suit alleges that the bank fraudulently represented the quality of mortgage-backed securities purchased by AIG.

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Scam Artist Sting Successful in South Florida

The South Florida mortgage banking community is immersed in scandal, as a result of four indictments released this week by the U.S. Attorney├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Office in Miami, Florida. The separate filings target 27 individuals who are accused of diverse fraud schemes waged against lenders and homeowners in the region. Charges encompass more than $30 million in faulty mortgage loans, plus mail fraud, insurance fraud, and arson. Twenty-five of the 27 indicted individuals are in custody, and each could ultimately face up to 20 years in jail.

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BAC Going after GSE Practices

The government sponsored enterprises are feeling the heat from Bank of America. A recent filing from BAC targets Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, stating that the criteria by which the GSEs are ultimately willing to resolve claims have become more rigid over time. By the numbers, BAC sold an estimated $1.1 trillion in mortgage loans to Fannie and Freddie between 2004 and 2008, and during the second quarter of this year, approximately $121 billion of the GSE-owned loans were in default or more than 180 days in arrears.

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CoreLogic HPI Data Up Again in June

CoreLogic was the bearer of some positive housing market news recently, with its announcement that home pricing is on the rise for the third consecutive month. Data from CoreLogic indicates that the results from its Home Price Index for June demonstrate a 0.7 percent increase in the market, building on similar statistical improvements recorded in May and April. CoreLogic notes that pricing is still depressed by 6.8 percent compared to last year's numbers.

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Director Swap at BancorpSouth

BancorpSouth, Inc., is bolstering its audit committee with the addition of Warren A. Hood, Jr. The bank├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Board of Directors approved Hood as its replacement for former board member, R. Madison Murphy, who recently resigned from the company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós directorship and was a member of the audit committee. Hood is the CEO and chairman of the board for his own enterprise, Hood Companies, Inc., which is comprised of three separate corporations. Current operations within Hood Companies include the manufacturing and distribution of building materials, consumer packaging products, and industrial packaging needs.

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