Despite the slide in the stock market, long-term rates held high (3.65 percent for the 10-year Treasury-note and 5.125 percent for mortgages), propped by the Fed's insistence that that the economy is "strengthening," and an adjustment-bloated, 5.7 percent surge in fourth-quarter U.S. gross domestic product. News of some stability in home prices was offset by big drops in December sales: Existing-home sales collapsed 16.7 percent, the worst ever measured, and new-home sales fell 7.6 percent. Apologists pointed to weather and to the expiring home-purchase tax credit; others noted that December is often cold, and the credits were renewed and amplified. President Obama said in his State of the Union address that he had not explained health care reform with sufficient clari...
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