Mortgage rates are no worse this week than after last week's strong-payroll surprise, and the 10-year T-note is actually a hair lower. As suspected here, the payroll data made the economy look stronger than it really is. When the economy is in transition, it is hell to sort through the conflicting data -- especially with the stock market guys yelling 24/7 that everything is wonderful. It is not: the Fed's meeting minutes concede that core inflation is "higher than expected" and that their cherished forecast for continuing downward trend is in question (page 7). If inflation sticks in the high-twos, above target, then the Fed not only can't ease but will have to tighten. (A silly piece at PIMCO.com says the Fed should solve the problem by raising the 2 percent inflation target to 3 percent. Perdition.) If the Fed may tighten, then mortgage and other rates should rise... now? Nope. The Fed's other problem is a slowing economy, and fragility caused by housing and manufacturing weakness....
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