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Mortgage rates jump: Should we be worried?

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Mortgage rates for 30-year home mortgages in the United States leapt to 4.46 percent this week, the highest since July 2011.

Most economists and observers attribute the jump to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech last week, which caused concern in the markets that the Fed would soon begin pulling back on its major bond-buying program.

“We’re probably going to stay pretty low compared to where we’ve been over the last couple of decades,” said Wall Street Journal reporter Sudeep Reddy. “But this is an important turning point in the recovery — next week the U.S. recovery moves into its fifth year and we’re still worrying about Fed stimulus and whether we’re going to be able to get by without these extraordinary actions by the central bank. Some people call it ‘monetary cocaine,’ some say it’s really needed stimulus, but it’s going to be a very rocky year as we come out of this and try to just adjust to the idea of the Fed not being there, backing us up.”

And what will it be like not having the Fed there?

“The markets are going to need rehab,” said The Guardian’s Heidi Moore. “The markets have really gotten used to being subsidized by the Federal Reserve, and all of those investors who bought all of those bonds because they thought the Fed was behind them are now going to have to put their money somewhere else.”

Plus, each week, the Weekly Wrappers offer their #longreads picks for the weekend ahead. With everything from online privacy to Goldman Sachs’ scavenger hunt, here’s what you should read.

Sudeep Reddy suggests:

Heidi Moore chose:

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