The Conference Board today reported that after a very long wait, long-term Treasury bond yields have begun to reflect a better outlook for the U.S. economy and the prospect that the next move in the federal funds rate will be up. The forecast also shows a rise in short-term interest rates by 50 basis points in the second half of this year. The Conference Board, a not-for-profit research organization, reported that manufacturing production is rising at about a 2 percent annual rate, and nondefense capital goods orders, a key investment indicator, have risen 20 percent in real terms since January. Much of the rest of the gain is in machinery orders. Although the pickup in orders is fairly broad-based, high-tech orders are somewhat lagging. High-tech orders, which should recover in the second quarter, are so closely related to the overall level of investment that it would be surprising if this sector didn't begin to rebound soon as well. "The picture is a little less encouraging on the ho...
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