Mortgage

Rise in interest rates could be overdone, or just starting

Commentary: No telling if runup is result of QE pullback, fears of future Fed tightening, or artifact of overregulation

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The first week of each month always brings the most news, the most important news and the newest news. The net result of this week's load: a brief pause in the next leg up in long-term rates. For 40 years, one of the most reliable economic indicators has been the monthly survey of manufacturing purchasing managers, renamed "ISM" (don’t ask). For August that value jumped to 55.7 (50 is breakeven, 60 a runaway) in an uptrend beginning early this year of the kind historically telling the Fed that it's time to pull back. The companion ISM for the five-times-larger service sector has a history less than half as long, thus a suspect indicator but rocketed to 58.6 in August. After those two releases, the 10-year T-note on Thursday touched 3 percent, and mainstream low-fee mortgages reached 5 percent. Today's job data bought us some time, the 10-year down to 2.9 percent, mortgages in the high 4's. The headline 169,000-job gain was enough to maintain Fed-fear, but not the 74,00...