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Investments

HW 30 climbs after Fed Chair nominee testifies

Janet Yellen to keep her foot on the QE gas pedal

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Federal Reserve chairman nominee Janet Yellen’s first public appearance since her nomination to overtake Ben Bernanke’s throne received high praise from the mortgage finance system Thursday as the HW 30 posted significant gains.

HW 30 — HousingWire’s exclusive list of mortgage-related stocks — finished the day out strong as Yellen announced her intentions to continue the central bank’s monetary stimulus while rejecting the notion that the market is witnessing asset bubbles.

“We have made good progress, but we have farther to go to regain the ground lost in the crisis and the recession,” Yellen said during a hearing at the Senate Banking Committee hearing.

She added, “Unemployment is down from a peak of 10%, but at 7.3% in October, it is still too high, reflecting a labor market and economy performing far short of their potential. At the same time, inflation has been running below the Federal Reserve's goal of 2% and is expected to continue to do so for some time." 

Home improvement companies and mortgage real estate investment trusts were the frontrunners on the index Thursday.

The mREIT sector continues to experience volatility around rising interest rates and QE3 uncertainty. However, investors dove into the sector upon Yellen’s comment to continue asset purchases as long as the economy needs it.

American Capital Agency Corp. (AGNC) finished up 1.14%, while Annaly Capital Management (NLY) followed suit, gaining 0.93% for the day.

Additionally, nonagency residential mortgage-backed securities issuer Redwood Trust (RWT) outperformed, rising 1.87%, and Two Harbors Investments (TWO) posted similar results, increasing 1.60%.

On a similar note, home improvement companies posted significant gains Thursday.

Home Depot (HD) finished the day out strong, up 1.70%, while Lowes (LOW) also posted gains, rising 1.29%. 

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