AgentIndustry News

Fed returns to inflation fighting

Katrina fades from economic radar

Rita has the financial markets on edge, but don't be distracted from the main event: the Fed's calculation of inflation risk and the economic cost to control it. Mortgage rates fell before and after the Fed raised the overnight cost of money another .25 percent to 3.75 percent, and made clear that more .25 percent hikes are coming. Mortgage money is back near 5.75 percent, the 10-year T-note now 4.2 percent from 4.26 percent pre-Fed. During the last year of Fed tightening (11 quarter-percent moves so far), the 10-year T-note has stayed within a quarter-percent of today's yield, and the spread versus short-term rates has all but disappeared. If you have time to watch one economic datum, just one, watch the 2-year T-note versus the 10-year. Those yields are posted on 15-minute delay on the bond pages of Yahoo, Bloomberg and Pimco. If the 2s-to-10s spread widens, the bond market is worried that the Fed is not tough enough. That's what was going on post-Katrina, when the market feared t...