U.S. deficit speaks louder than words

COMMENTARY: The union is in a troubled state

Stock prices and rates in Treasurys and the mortgage market continued in their quiet, narrow ranges, but expectant tension is rising, with optimists in a special lather.

The 3.2 percent gain in fourth-quarter U.S. gross domestic product was stronger than it looked: Households at last spent some money, with annualized growth at 4.4 percent; exports had a great 90 days, accounting for the whole GDP rise, which would have doubled the official figure were it not for peculiar inventory calculations.

Next Friday we will learn if the happy ending to 2010 has carried through to payrolls in January.

European debt worries have reversed very fast on legitimate signs the zone may opt for the sacrifices leading to unity, and in two weeks the euro has jumped from $1.29 to $1.37. Emerging nations are running red hot, pulling our exports. It’s unsustainable but enjoyable, with inflation-threat commentary in every economic report.