Three straight weeks of mortgage-rate stability (low-fee loans 6.25 percent-6.375 percent) have concealed a truly unstable situation. Most upsets in the financial markets coincide with fast-moving events, painful but well-understood, like the blown stock bubbles in '87 and '00, or the freight-train Feds in '80, '81 and '94, or the foreign currency collapse in '98. This time, markets are unstable because nobody really knows what the hell is going on. Only two economic things of substance have changed this year: perceived employment weakness has shifted to the beginnings of job growth, and inflation has moved from slightly sub-1 percent to about 2 percent. Those are it–and long-term rates have soared a full percent in anticipation of another freight-train Fed. We do not have any idea if the two-month job trend will sustain itself, or translate to wage growth. We do not know if inflation is in a ramping up phase, or if the rising measurements of inflation in the last 90 days are...
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