An inflation-inspired popup in rates is reversing on news of a weakening economy. Mortgages are still above 6 percent (they touched 6.25 percent at Christmas Eve worst), and markets will now hold until the release of all-powerful payroll numbers on Friday, Jan. 4. The inflation news before Christmas was disturbing: The indicator was a technical one ("core personal consumption expenditure deflator"), but a Fed favorite jumping the 2 percent top-of-target range. Not by much, 2.2 percent year-over-year, but 2.9 percent in the last three quarters. "Headline" overall CPI is north of 4 percent, felt by everyone. New claims for unemployment insurance are in an unmistakable uptrend, at 350,000 weekly within 20,000 of the level at onset of the last two recessions. November data is old, ...
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