Mortgage rates stayed at their 2005 highs, just below 6.5 percent for the lowest-fee 30-year loans, but trading in the all-important Treasury bond market suggests that long-term rates may be nearing a top. There were no market-moving economic data last week, but the Treasury had $44 billion in new bonds to sell at auction and the behavior of the bidders tells a tale. The Treasury borrows constantly to roll over old debt and to raise new cash, but it raises the big money in a few "refunding" weeks. Nobody gets a refund in this misnomer; the ancient term refers to the Treasury re-funding its empty coffers. New cash comes from selling new IOUs. The Treasury wants to get the best price possible when selling, and so conducts auctions; the winning bidders get the lowest interest rate from the Treasury. Yes, in our government, somebody actually wants to get the best possible deal for the taxpayer, and Halliburton is not involved; the bidders are limited to three-dozen heavily regulated "p...
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