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U.S. Fed buys $6.5 billion of mortgage bonds, sells $250 million

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve bought $6.461 billion of agency mortgage-backed securities in the week from Jul. 13 to Jul. 19, compared with $5.656 billion purchased the previous week, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said on Thursday.

In a move to help the housing market begun in October 2011, the U.S. central bank has been using funds from principal payments on the agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities, or MBS, it holds to reinvest in agency MBS.

The New York Fed said on its website the Fed sold $250 million in mortgage securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae <FNMA.OB>, Freddie Mac <FMCC.OB> or the Government National Mortgage Association, or Ginnie Mae, in the latest week. It sold none the prior week.