Weak economy won't stifle interest-rate hikes

Refinance troubles loom on horizon

Fixed-rate mortgage rates have behaved very well, still close to 5.75 percent in the face of oil falling below $50/bbl, stocks in an up-side technical breakout, improving economic data, and the Fed showing every sign of continuing to raise its rate.

Tending to hold rates down: heavy bond-buying by China and Japan as they try to keep their currencies low to preserve their exports; inflation on hold slightly below 1.5 percent annualized; and despite opportunities that may flow from Arafat’s death, Middle East worries maintain a substantial bid in the Treasury market.