Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

U.S. economy giving up the ghost?

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The bond-market blowup seems to have topped: 10-year Treasury notes touched 3.6 percent, and low-fee mortgages 5.125 percent. Each has rocketed 1 full percent in one month. In some ways this explosion makes sense, but in others it's been downright weird. The sensible: We were way overdue for a technical correction from the straight-line drop in rates from April to August. Markets that decline in straight lines rebound in straight lines. An economy underperforming in spring and summer led to thoughts of double-dip, but now the economy is performing better than forecasts, concentrated in retail sales, up 1.2 percent in November, and October revised to +1.7 percent; and in manufacturing, November production up 0.4 percent. A pop in export volume is a good hint for the "why" in manufacturing; the big-business types are happy, their global engines humming. Even the small-business National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) survey is an inch above two-year bott...