Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Chips down, Fed plays waiting game

Commentary: Does alphabet soup spell relief?

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The August slide in long-term rates found bottom this week, with the 10-year T-note briefly to 3.28 percent (3.37 percent today), and lowest-fee mortgages to 5.25 percent. The last time it was so low was during a single week in early July, the best since a general rise began in early May. To break through these levels would require a sharp thump in the stock market or newly weak economic data; pushing the other way is constant Treasury borrowing and a great deal of refinance demand just above 5 percent.The most mighty gorilla of all data, first-Friday payroll data for the prior month, arrived today right on forecast: 216,000 jobs lost in August, and 49,000 more shaved from summer estimates. The "Green Shooter" economic optimists think it's terrific news, insisting that a smaller-loss trend will cross over to job growth toward the end of this year.The L-shaped-recovery crowd argues that we're not in a "V" until we're in one, and this alleged recovery pattern may just...