Markets & Economy

Putin’s sad and troublesome Crimean adventure is worth keeping a close eye on

There's only one domino separating Russia and NATO

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

The action has been overseas this week, with little new economic data, all forces -- anxiety, mostly -- pushing long-term rates lower. Domestic information was on the weak side of hopes. Orders for durable goods, net of volatile items crept up 0.2 percent in February. Pending sales of homes continued to slide, now down 10.5 percent year over year, purchase loan applications down about 16 percent from a year ago. Overseas, China's manufacturing PMI continued its drop in negative territory, 48.1 in March from 48.5. Weather gets the blame for everything here, but not there. The European Central Bank, in a grand mixture of blessings, leaked intentions to do more to stimulate Europe's economy, a simultaneous confession of the absence of recovery. Dominating everything: Tsar Vladimir's intentions. When the world is worried, it buys U.S. Treasurys. It is difficult to explain higher bond prices and lower rates here except as safe-haven buying. There are unusually few safe places to go...