Mortgage and long-term Treasury rates are falling suddenly today, as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s fraud charge against Goldman Sachs is tanking the stock market.
It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people: The 10-year Treasury note has broken below recent 3.8 percent resistance to 3.77 percent, with mortgages headed toward 5 percent.
Interpreting new economic data is trickier than ever, even for professionals, as an odd confluence has tipped public sources into uniform economic cheerleading.
The whole country would like not to hear another word about recession, and is hungry for news of recovery. Media tend to supply whatever it takes to sell soap.
CNBC years ago dispensed with "real" news. Bloomberg television was a reliable replacement, but this winter cloned CNBC’s grinning kids in happy talk (its Web-based news is still as straight as anything available).
The Wall Street Journal under Rupert Murdoch is dumbing-down to the USA Today of business. It does have the old, reliable hostility to real estate and government, but its stock-boosting leads to a parade of "strong recovery" stories. The New York Times has been the counterweight, but now it has a president who it likes, and pushes administration success and recovery.
Meanwhile, the economy is in a cycle never seen before, parts in actual recovery, parts not, and which one is predominant and trend-setting should preface every story.
The legitimate good news this week: March retail sales jumped 1.6 percent. If only by means of stimulus doesn’t matter — the deficit spending and big tax refunds are supposed to work. Industrial production crept upward 0.1 percent, but capacity in use has been in a steady climb to 73.2 percent, as has every measure of manufacturing.
Some of that is just pipeline-filling, but some is honest exporting, as the emerging world and Asia continue to rocket and consume. China’s gross domestic product shot up 11.7 percent in the first quarter. …CONTINUED