Mortgage rates are still close to 5.75 percent, but could not hold their lows. Eight days ago the 10-year T-note was 4.42 percent and about to blow out the top. Then, by early this week shaky job news, currency manipulation by central banks, and an immense wave of short-covering conspired to take the 10-year to 4.08 percent. As of today, one extreme has cancelled another: the 10-year is trading 4.21 percent, it and mortgages likely to stay close to current levels through the holidays. Useful economic data showed November retail sales running well above expectation, and CPI under control at plus .2 percent last month, the year-over-year increase fading back toward 2 percent as energy costs abate. Other reports were so wacky that markets withheld judgment: a 13 percent plunge in new-home starts seemed as improbable as the 43,000 drop in claims for unemployment insurance. The Fed tightened another quarter-point to 2.25 percent Fed funds, making a 1.25 percent total rise in the overnight...
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