U.S. markets have begun to fibrillate, pumping wildly and pointlessly, unable to measure prospects for slow-slide recession here, and Europe confounding everyone. In the last five weeks, the S&P 500 has traded from 1,097 to 1,292, caving to 1,244 now; the 10-year T-note in that time 1.75 percent to 2.37 percent, today back to 2.04 percent. The mortgage centerline is 4.25 percent, a huge spread to 10-year T-notes, which may soon draw the Fed's attention.
The ISM surveys (old "purchasing managers") arrived at 50.8 for manufacturing in October, teetering at break-even and down from 52.1; the service sector 52.9 unchanged. Rather more ominous, the European equivalent dumped to 43, clear recession, and China is now below 50. August and September U.S. payroll gains were revised up by about half, but far below levels necessary to absorb the unemployed. October's 80,000 gain is statistically undetectable.