Friday morning, CNBC reported that support is growing among Fed officials to begin sales of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) from the Fed's portfolio. In a program which ended March 31, the Fed purchased $1.25 trillion of MBS to help lower mortgage rates and boost the economy. According to CNBC, "at least" six members of the Fed's policymaking committee support near-term MBS sales if the economy continues to improve. The selling could begin as soon as the third or fourth quarter of this year. Fed Chief Bernanke still views the likely time frame to begin MBS sales as next year, but his recent comments have indicated a willingness to keep more options open. With the next Fed meeting taking place on Wednesday, the 2:15 et release of its statement will take on added significance. If the Fed actually conveys an intention to begin to sell MBS soon, mortgage rates would be likely to rise on the news.