Mortgages struggled to stay as low as 5.75 percent (more below on the stubborn refusal of mortgages to follow the Fed down). The biggest news of the week: the off-the-table January ISM survey (the ineptly renamed purchasing managers' association), one of the very best real-time indicators, the 54-to-41 plunge the worst monthly result ever. A general intake of breath followed, not yet released. January retail sales were the worst in five years; credit cards declined in use and increased in distress; and Wal-Mart reported, sadly, that shoppers are using holiday gift cards to buy necessities -- diapers, pasta sauce, and detergent. The only questions remaining: how deep and how long the recession? This one is different in pattern from others (save perhaps '91-'92 affair, a micro-min...
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