AgentIndustry News

Financial markets size up new Fed chief

Interest rates, inflation become hot button

Rates rose last week, the 10-year T-note reaching 4.6 percent at one point, taking low-fee mortgages to 6.25 percent. (Friday's newspaper headlines, "Mortgages To New High", refer to Freddie Mac's lagged-survey discovery of 6.15 percent more than a week ago.) I assume that mortgages will continue to rise during the Fed's coming progression: another .25 percent on Tuesday (to a 4 percent overnight cost of money, 7 percent prime), another .25 percent on Dec. 13, and another on Feb. 1 – unless the economy croaks in the meantime. Economic data are still hurricane-garbled, except for home sales, which seem authentically strong. Third-quarter GDP gained a terrific 3.8 percent, but the September one-third of the quarter is just a pleasant guess. Durable goods orders fell hard in September, but there is no way to know if the decline was real or storm-distorted. Core inflation numbers in the GDP report were benign, but nobody knows if the Fed should be watching core numbers or the vast...