Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

‘Wait and see’ crisis management

Commentary: Fannie, Freddie purchases will buy time for mortgatge rates

A good-news week in the credit patch -- an exceedingly odd mix, but good. Weakness in Europe, authorities in China tightening into a bubble, a softening data-pattern here, an add to mortgage supply and a woozy stock market conspired to hold lowest-fee mortgages to 5.25 percent, the post-August high. That despite Treasury auctions of $81 billion in long-term paper. Bond ghouls love lousy news. The National Federation of Independent Business survey (, "SBET") in January found no meaningful improvement in a small-business "L" non-recovery, and overall retail sales poked along at a 0.4 percent gain. The euro-zone trouble with its weak members entered a new phase. Germany said at mid-week that it would intervene to prevent a Greek default, and interest rates and stock prices here rose fast, fear abating. All of that is reversing as no one in Europe has said how Greece might be supported. Nor has anyone in Greece offered a credible plan for auste...