The credit panic appeared to stabilize on Wednesday, interest rates rising a bit, but the crunch found new legs today on news of sinking retail sales. At week's end conforming mortgages are a hair under 6.5 percent, the gap to vanilla jumbos closing to roughly a 0.5 percent premium, half of the worst in August. Everything else -- even high-quality off-brand loans -- is as-was: pricey or gone. The Fed meets Tuesday, will cut its overnight rate a bit, will have something murky and inane to say about following developments as they develop and taking appropriate action when appropriate -- all completely as expected by the markets and built into the current rate structure. The next big move in long-term rates will depend on economic data weeks away: We won't get trend confirmation of last Frida...
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