AgentIndustry News

Iraq war rattles economy

Fed may have to reverse plans to accommodate downshift

The oil equation broke from pattern this week: prices fell, stocks rose, but interest rates fell slightly, as evidence of a flattening economy dominated energy-price relief. Mortgages are still close to 5.75 percent, and the 10-year T-note yield is trading in cheerful economic pessimism, back down to 4.2 percent. The bond market had waited all week for Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's address this morning at an annual convention of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo. (Hair-down banter around the old campfire: "Nice necktie." "Thank you, but relative to my family's cost-benefit curve, possibly unsustainable.") This time the chairman didn't say anything dangerous – just a reminder that we should expect to wait an extra few years for our first Social Security checks.   Economic data were thin, but consistent with a Conference Board description of an economy "no longer firing on all cylinders." July orders for durable goods improved, but the flattening trend is ...