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Credit starvation fallout

Commentary: Counting the (mortgage) seconds

Long-term Treasury rates rose under pressure from constant borrowing, but mortgages did well, holding at 5 percent with lowest fees. Versus the 10-year Treasury note at 3.7 percent, that's the narrowest spread ever measured. Retail sales for February this morning have been mis-described as a strong surprise; in reality, post-revisions, January and February were close to flat versus December. Overall retail sales have risen 6 percent since the pit one year ago, but are still 6.5 percent below 2008. New unemployment claims are still elevated, running 462,000 last week. Take good news where you find it: a reasonably stable "L" economy beats the hell out of deterioration. The National Federation of Independent Business released its small-business survey, methods constant since 1973 (www.nfib.com, "SBET"), charts for confidence, sales, earnings and hiring all L-shape since last summer and stuck near the worst levels ever measured. Stability has a price: th...

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