More positive U.S. data and relaxation of European frights have combined for higher interest rates and support for Wall Street's warm-fuzzy machine. One week ago, downgraded credit in Europe and another failure in Greek debt negotiations had taken the 10-year Treasury note to 1.85 percent and big-equity refinancings a hair below 4 percent. Today, nothing is resolved in Europe but nothing is falling, either, so 10-year Treasurys are back to 2.02 percent and even a 20 percent-down, low-fee mortgage is near 4.25 percent. Adios, refis. The mortgage spread to 10-year Treasurys, at 2.25 percent, is very wide, now opened in part by the new-mortgage surcharge inflicted by Congress and the White House to pay for part of the payroll tax cut. Which the public is largely unaware of, because mainstream media can't be bothered to cover the madness, and the Fed every day is trying to close the spread. The most striking U.S. data is the decline in weekly claims for unemployment insuran...
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