Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Tight lending remains elephant in room

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

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's extraordinary speech on Monday instantly knocked 10-year Treasurys below 3.35 percent, where they have stayed. Lowest-fee mortgages are 5 percent. Economic data increased the tilt in markets toward concern for the recovery. Retail sales flattened to a 0.2 percent gain in October (ex-autos), breaking an apparent up-trend. New claims for unemployment insurance were unchanged at 505,000 last week, but held improvement from early fall. The index of leading indicators rose for the sixth-straight month (0.4 percent in October), yet another traditional index measuring an alternate or Jurassic universe. Even the stock market paid attention to new housing data, and sank. Versus expected improvement, October housing starts crashed 10.9 percent and new building permits fell 4 percent. New purchase mortgage applications fell another 4.7 percent last week, completing a five-week collapse to the lowest numbers since 1997. One of the many oddities thi...