Mutual Fund Assets Rose 4.2% in October

WASHINGTON - Mutual funds bounced back in October from their September decline, with assets rising 4.2%, to $6.225 trillion, the Investment Company Institute said Monday.Stock funds gained the most, with assets jumping 6.2% from September, amid generally higher stock prices, the mutual fund trade group said. Net new cash flow into stocks, which takes into account new sales, redemptions, and exchanges, was $20.42 billion in October, compared with $10.79 billion in September.

Cash flow into stock funds - net sales plus net exchanges -totaled $4.42 billion in October, nearly twice the September pace. Redemptions from stock, hybrid, and taxable bond fund categories slowed in October from the previous month.

- Cheryl Winokur

Fannie, Freddie Raise Loan-Buying Limit

WASHINGTON - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said they would buy single-family home loans of up to $252,700 next year, a 5.3% increase from this year's limit of $240,000.The loan limit is pegged to the national average home price in October, as reported by the Federal Housing Finance Board. The board on Monday set the number at $184,500, up from $175,200 last October.

The secondary market agencies hiked the limit for two-family property loans to $323,400, from $307,100; for three-family properties, they will buy loans of $390,900, up from $371,200; for four-family properties, mortgage limits will increase to $485,800, from $461,350.

Fannie Mae said the increase would enable about 120,000 families to save money through access to the conventional market. Freddie Mac predicted that 150,000 families would benefit. Considering current spreads between rates for a Fannie mortgage and a jumbo mortgage, Fannie said, families would save up to $16,100 over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Freddie said the saving on a Freddie mortgage would be about $15,8000 over the life of a loan.

- Joshua Brockman

Fed Approves Mass. Company's Investment

WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve Board on Monday approved an application by Brookline Bancorp Inc. in Massachusetts to increase its stake in neighboring Medford Bancorp Inc. to 9.9%, from 4.9%.Brookline, a mutual holding company with $910 million of assets, said the stake will be a passive investment and that the company would not seek control of Medford. Arthur H. Meehan, chief executive of the $1.2 billion-asset Medford, who had opposed the application, was unavailable to comment.

- Katharine Fraser

Philadelphia Fund Firm Chooses a CEO

PHILADELPHIA - Charles E. Haldeman Jr. is resigning as president and chief operating officer of Boston's United Asset Management Corp. to become chief executive of Lincoln National Investment Cos., the companies announced Monday.Mr. Haldeman, 51, is to take the helm at Lincoln National on Jan. 3. He will also head Delaware Investments, which is one of four investment firms in the Lincoln National Investment Cos. unit. He will succeed Jeffrey Nick, who left the company in April, a spokesman said.

A spokesman for United Asset Management said the company plans to hire a chief executive who will assume Mr. Haldeman's duties as well as those of Norton H. Reamer, chairman and chief executive.

The spokesman said Mr. Reamer, 64, will remain chairman until he turns 65 in September, when he will become chairman emeritus.

- Cheryl Winokur

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