There's nobody home at trading desks this week and yields have stayed about the same as the week before Christmas: the 10-year T-note is 4.22 percent, and mortgages are about 5.75 percent for the lowest-fee deals. It is quiet, but there is news: the November economy was firm, consistent with more quarter-point-per-meeting rate hikes from the Fed, and no reason to fear inflation. The best single measure of inflation, the personal consumption expenditure deflator (PCE), shows a 1.5 percent annual core rate, above the 1.2 percent terrain of last year, but nowhere near the 2 percent-plus trouble zone. The financial markets are full of snipers claiming the Fed has cooked the inflation books, and that inflation is really higher, but it's just not so: three-quarters of costs in our economy are labor costs, just now going positive after three falling years, and sky-high commodity prices are not the factor they were during past oil-spikes and weak-dollar intervals. The economy is close to the...
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