Long-term rates have fallen to the mid-December lows, and show almost every sign of going lower. The 10-year Treasury has reached 3.83 percent, and the lowest-fee mortgages are 5.875 percent. The immediate drivers of decline: nosedives in brand-new data for December. $100 oil got the ink on Wednesday, but the bond-market mover was the purchasing managers' manufacturing survey at 47.7 -- a five-year low, below the "50" breakeven level into contraction, still a hair above the 44 level marking recession. Today's payroll data ... maybe a hair above recession, maybe not: December unemployment jumped to 5 percent, the 0.3 percent leap the largest single-month in 12 years; and payrolls gained a meager 18,000 jobs, government-heavy, the private sector declining. Not quite off the table...
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