Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Low prices not helping housing

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Credit markets shrugged off news of 3.5 percent gross domestic product growth in the third quarter, and the 10-year T-note has repeatedly held tests of 3.5 percent (3.41 percent now), mortgages 5.125 percent or better. The GDP news intermittently ignited the stock market and caused new speculation that the Fed will soon make noises preliminary to tightening credit. (Razzing from the skeptical side: If the Fed tightened credit, how could anyone tell?) Stripped of "Cash for Clunkers" and weird inventory adjustment, GDP really grew only about 1.5 percent, and that was mostly due to other government stimulus. Other data have dampened the stock fire. Personal income was flat in September, and spending shrank by 0.5 percent. The Conference Board measure of consumer confidence crashed to 47.7 in October versus expectations for holding summertime improvement at 53.3 (the reading at the bottom of the last recession was 81). Sales of new homes failed to meet the 2.5 percen...