To dodge one bullet in a week is gratifying; to dodge two in one week... Winston Churchill, after the battle of Omdurman in 1898, said, "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as being shot at, and missed." The Fed added another .25 percent to the Fed funds rate on Wednesday, bringing it to 2.5 percent. The accompanying Fed statement gave every indication of more "measured" hikes to come, making monetary policy still "accommodative" to neutral. The shot did no harm: the mortgage market stayed unchanged at 5.625 percent, and T-bonds held at 4.18 percent. The second shot, the January payroll data released Friday morning, was expected to show strength and hit bonds hard enough to finally drive mortgage rates toward 6 percent. Instead, net of a downward revision for December, payrolls grew by only 120,000, roughly half the forecast. The White House seized on the fall in the unemployment rate to 5.2 percent as good news, but it fell because more people who used to look for...
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