Hard data and hard questions

Commentary: Feds' foot is on the credit hose?

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Long-term Treasury yields pierced the post-August high, 3.5 percent, trading today at 3.57 percent, but did little damage to mortgage rates still holding close to 5 percent.

The proximate causes of the rise: Another huge week of Treasury borrowing finally ran into resistance — another $1.4 trillion is coming in 2010, so why hurry to buy the paper?

There was some good news on the consumer front. November retail sales rose 1.3 percent, about double the forecast, and one consumer-confidence measure also beat expectations.