Mortgage rates are still in the same narrow band they've been in since the holidays: 6.125 percent, plus or minus a debate about closing costs, but no points and no origination fee. This narrow range should not be confused with stability. In the last two days, concerns about Iran have overwhelmed everything; but, before laying out the market implications of that one, everything else first. At the top of the list of standard economics is the standoff between the bet on economic slowdown and the one that all is well. In late December, bond yields fell in growing belief that a slowdown was inevitable, the Fed was not merely going to stop its campaign but would have to reverse, and the only question for 2006 would be how steep the slowdown. Everybody else -- economists, stock-market heroes, small-business execs -- disagrees. The bond (and hence, mortgage) market is stuck, waiting for data to show who is right. On the good-news side, December industrial production rose .6 percent, on targe...
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