The collapse of Bear Stearns this morning has pulled the 10-year Treasury yield to 3.42 percent, but lowest-fee mortgages are still stuck above 6 percent. Mortgage improvement was inhibited by fire sales elsewhere (Thornburg and Carlyle), and by Bear's mortgage exposure, the Street's largest. As one of the Fed's 20 "primary dealers," Bear has received instant bailout, but its mortgage portfolio still overhangs the market. Best news in a long while: CPI for February was unchanged. Other economic data continue to slide, but at a shallow slope. February retail sales fell 0.6 percent versus hope for a small gain; however, new claims for unemployment insurance are still within recent range, near 360,000 weekly, and consumer confidence is low but stable. Foreclosures con...
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