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Mortgage rates fall after Bernanke’s speech

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The 10-year T-note is again falling toward 5 percent, and has taken low-fee mortgage rates to 6.75 percent. Newspapers today say that "mortgage rates rose" this week, but this factoid is based on Freddie Mac's bone-headed method of early-week survey and delayed (Thursday) release. Rates had risen in nervous anticipation of Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke's Wednesday testimony to Congress, but fell instantly -- before he began to speak -- on release of his prepared remarks.   Bernanke's communication skills are improving: the testimony was as bland and even-handed as could be. However, the heart of his testimony, and the strong reaction in the bond and stock market, were odd. Bernanke, now repeatedly referring to a "moderating" economy, offered a forecast of GDP growth to decline from "3.5-3.25 percent in 2006 to 3.25-3 percent in 2007," and core inflation to decline from "2.5-2.25 percent in 2006 to 2.25-2 percent in 2007." Oddity number one: a centerline decline in GDP ...