Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., New York, has announced the launch of the KBW Mortgage Finance Index, consisting of 24 mortgage bankers, mortgage insurers, title insurers, government-sponsored enterprises, and banks and thrifts with considerable mortgage portfolios or operations.The index includes Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Countrywide Financial Inc., Golden West Financial Corp., and Washington Mutual Inc. Options on the index were scheduled to begin trading July 26 on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. "Our growing family of publicly traded index products empower market participants to make and hedge investments in each of the primary subsectors of the financial services sector of the market," said Thomas Michaud, KBW's vice chairman and chief operating officer. KBW can be found on the Web at http://www.kbw.com.

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