Long-term Treasury and mortgage rates fell again this week, not a lot, but remarkable in the face of fierce tub-thumping at the Fed. The 10-year T-note traded under 4.2 percent, and low-fee 30-year mortgages made it to 5.625 percent. The producer price index plunged .7 percent in December, but the "core" rate stripped of energy and food costs increased point-one percent; overall prices are not falling, but inflation is negligible. A .8 percent pop in December industrial production gave the bond market some pause, combined with the highest percentage of capacity in use in four years, but the production seems likely to fade as inventories are rising at twice the rate of sales. December retail sales were thin, ex-autos up .3 percent, and new claims for unemployment insurance are in an up-tr...
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