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This week’s dirt in mortgage markets

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Long-term rates are rising quickly, with the 10-year T-note to 4.6 percent from sub-4.5 percent one week ago, and mortgages to 6.25 percent. Both are headed higher. The immediate cause of retreat: February payrolls did just fine in today's dawn release. The economy produced 97,000 new jobs, and January and December were revised up another 55,000; unemployment fell a tick to 4.5 percent, and wages are up 4.1 percent year-over-year. No way the Fed's going to ease on numbers like that, not with inflation still in the hazard zone. The last two weeks' stock market trading has been instructive. After a long straight-line rise and record-low volatility, equity markets around the world broke badly two weeks ago. In normal circumstances, both weakness and high volatility would have persisted -- months at least. Instead, it took only 10 days for markets to steady; prices are still off, but that horrible airliner-airpocket sensation is gone. "So, it's different this time?" You bet. It's not ev...