Mortgage company stocks should react positively to a rate cut by the Federal Reserve, but it will be short-lived because rising credit costs and a "tougher origination environment" will be drag on earnings, according to a Friedman Billings Ramsey report."It will be tough going for mortgage banking companies for the next 12 to 24 months," FBR analyst Paul Miller Jr. says in the Sept. 14 report. And it will be a particularly tough adjustment for companies that generated most of their earnings from gain-on-sale income or hold a large percentage of nonagency products in their portfolios. But banks and thrifts that took a cautious approach to credit risk should benefit from the current environment, according to the FBR analyst. "Additionally, a Fed rate cut should help improve margins as funding costs move lower," Mr. Miller said. The Federal Open Market Committee meets Sept. 18 to consider a cut in the Fed Funds rate.

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