Markets & Economy

Mortgage rates hit 2014 low on bizarre sequence of events and economic data

Interest rates are going to stay down until wages turn

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A bizarre sequence of events and data has taken bond and mortgage yields to their lows of the year, the 10-year Treasury note 2.58 percent and mortgages near 4.5 percent. Ukraine is the largest immediate force pushing down on rates, but we'll review that after trying to make sense of the most contradictory steam of economic data in a long time. First-quarter GDP on Wednesday looked like the onset of recession; the Fed's same-day post-meeting minutes had an other-worldly calm. Today's April employment report boomed, on the surface at least. A foreword on data: Many civilians regard economic data as books baked by conspirators. Too many professionals support this cynicism in their sales pitches. Don’t believe any of that: The agencies compiling data do the best they can. When the numbers look as crazy as they do now, we are either beyond our ability to describe our economy or the economy has departed its prior patterns, or both. Today, both. A third thicket for civilians to un...