In a considerable achievement, Treasury and mortgage rates held last week's improvement: the 10-year T-note near 3.5 percent, mortgages 5.375 percent. To have held during one of the thinnest trading weeks of the year, in which a butterfly wing-beat can blow up any market; in the week before the Treasury's next borrowing wave ($109 billion new cash next week); stock market antigravity; and interpretation of all incoming data as "recovery" -- quite an achievement. That last upward force on rates -- anticipation of recovery -- is the most powerful of all at the end of any recession cycle. The decline in long-term rates from two tries at 4 percent 10-year T-notes since May, and trading now as though headed for lower -- that pattern says that real players in actual markets disbelieve the daily cheerleading, with the Fed, White House and Treasury being indistinguishable from CNBC. This week, housing got the optimistic pom-pom treatment. Yes, new construction starts impr...
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