Rates are rising again this morning -- possibly an overreaction in thin holiday markets to strong job-market news, but rising. The 10-year T-note is 4.75 percent versus 4.66 percent yesterday and 4.5 percent four weeks ago; that upward drive has taken mortgages from just above 6 percent to 6.25 percent yesterday and almost 6.375 percent today. March payrolls increased by 180,000, about half-again the forecast, and unemployment fell to 4.4 percent, which has crushed any thought of near-term Fed easing. The last few weeks look the same on a rate chart as a half-dozen other intervals since the Fed paused at 5.25 percent last summer, but I think the game is now changing. Despite today's job news, the economy really is weakening. In the prior intervals, an outbreak of hopeful expectation for recession (they don't call bond traders "ghouls" for nothing) triggered a spate of falling rates, and then gradually reversed as the economy proved resilient. Each time the weak-economy hopes centered o...
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