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Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Mortgages and 10-year T-notes tried their tops all week long (6.25 percent and 3.92 percent, respectively), looking like they would break upward ... and held. Rates have improved today, but a run into the fives will require a weakening economy. Name your poison. The stock market's persistent strength makes sense to all who believe that the economy bottomed in March, that we will not have a real recession, that the credit markets are healing quickly, that overseas strength will prop our economy and big-business profits, and that the tax-rebate checks will ensure a good summer. Piece of cake. Traders call it the Check Republic. Some data support that argument. A little. The NFIB small-business index stabilized in April, but only a half-tick above March, the worst in 28 years. New claims for unemployment insurance are flat but high. The turndown in rates late Thursday followed reports contrary to worst-is-over: April industrial production tanked 0.8 percent, and capacity i...