Since mid-March, markets have assumed a better U.S. economy, moving to self-sustaining ground, with the 10-year Treasury note spiking from 2 percent to 2.35 percent, and mortgages up almost the same amount. The primary basis for the improved attitude: the Fed's announcement in March that a third round of quantitative easing ("QE3") was on hold. Then, this week's release of the Fed's March meeting minutes again plunked the bond market, with rates rising -- an odd reaction to the same news, like a couple of guys losing five bucks on the instant replay of a Kentucky kid dropping a three-pointer. Never mind. Today's payroll figures for March arrived at half the forecast -- only 120,000 jobs. In thin, holiday-time trading, the 10-year is back to 2.05 percent, with mortgage rates near 4 percent and some even below that mark. Analytical cautions: It's only one month's report in a guesstimate series often revised. Some observers found optimism in the stability of governm...
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