Too many numbers, too little credit

Commentary: Economy is on Fed, Treasury 'life support'

Long-term interest rates slid a little this week, but confined in a tight, 30-day range: the 10-year T-note between 3.5 percent and 3.28 percent, and mortgages close to 5.25 percent.

The media are now giving every possible positive spin to new data, which are in reality still ambiguous: Ever-so-slight improvements look more like floors than durable uptrends. Retail sales did pick up 1.1 percent in August, excluding "Cash for Clunkers," and industrial production rose 0.8 percent, that gain bloated by "Clunkers" and still 10.7 percent below last year.