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Housing is ‘wild card’ for Fed

Mortgage market commentary
Published on Feb 19, 2007

Mortgage rates stabilized near 6.25 percent at the close of last week, with the 10-year T-note providing gravity in a range near 4.7 percent. The bond market has done a lot of intra-day bouncing, trying to find a level after a two-month, straight-line run-up in rates, then a downward correction, and then the Federal Reserve Chairman's annual testimony to Congress. Bouncing was a sensible thing to do. Reading Alan Greenspan's prose was a confusing but elegant stroll through the hedge maze in a full-blooming Victorian garden. New Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, however, writes a concrete sidewalk straight across a salt flat. He led with a "... The predominant policy concern is the risk that inflation will fail to ease ... " but I think that line is the result of his painful learning experience last year: the Fed chairman must always indicate that inflation is the primary concern. Later on he was more descriptive, but gave only a dry -- desiccated -- recitation of the Fed-staff forecast: GDP ...

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