Rates once again proved federal officials' go-to choice for economic policy action last week but when it comes to sizing up potential economic recovery as part of mortgage investment strategies one might do better these days watching jobs over the traditional duo of rates and real estate markets.

Not to say all three aren't still important or federal officials were wrong in targeting rates, but as Mahesh Swaminathan, head of RMBS strategy/fixed-income research at Credit Suisse, told listeners to the firm's monthly strategy call last week housing is now "the cart, not the horse" anymore.

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