Yesterday we saw a bond rally that looks to be continuing into this morning. If the rally continues, it could lead to better mortgage rates. There was no economic data of import yesterday, and my best guess is that the rally was the result of ongoing Fed asset purchases sucking up some supply and Bernanke taking a fairly dovish posture in his comments yesterday. Whether or not the rally will hold up will be largely dependent upon hold firm the economic data is this week and the positive or negative nature of any debt ceiling rumors that we hear. At the end of the week, I’m thinking we’ll see rates in largely the same place as they are right now, or possibly slightly better.
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We had a couple of pieces of economic data today:
- The Producer Price Index for December showed a 0.2% decline. The core number (ex-food and -energy) came in at 0.1%. Both numbers are in line with expectations, and probably don’t have much impact.
- Retail Sales rose by 0.5% in December, which is better than expectations. Earlier in the month it seemed to be widely believed that December’s retail numbers would be soft, so this is at least a little surprising.
- The Empire State Manufacturing Survey showed a reading of -7.8 (below zero indicates contraction and above zero expansion) for January, which is considerably below expectations.
McSweeney’s: First They Came For My Assault Rifle.
The Verge: CBS Forced CNET Staff to Recast Vote After Hopper Won ‘Best in Show’ at CES. Some people at CNET quit over this, and I don’t blame them.
Bloomberg: Recovery in U.S. Saving 8 Million Underwater Homeowners. Let’s see where we are in a few months before we declare victory here. I’m still not entirely buying this recovery.
The Atlantic: The Real Cuban Missile Crisis.
NYT: The Foreclosure Fiasco. The title is too kind. There’s another word that begins with f that would fit nicely in the title and make for a nice alliteration.
Charlie Pierce: Justice Thomas Has Something to Say.
Scientific American: How Intermittent Fasting Might Help You Live a Longer and Healthier Life. No thanks, I believe I will continue to eat normally.
Yahoo: Doomsday Clock Holds at 5 ‘Til Midnight. The closest it ever got to midnight was in 1953 when it hit 11:58.
The New Yorker: That Sunk-Cost Feeling. Mark Sanchez is the definition of a sunk cost.
Reuters: Nigeria’s Oil Thieves Say Government Leaves Them No Choice.
NYT: Equation of Time Solves Mystery of Gray Mornings.
Guardian: Eurozone Showing Signs of Recovery, Says IMF Chief. Anecdotal, but yesterday I read a story about Greeks denuding the forests so they could heat their homes. Not exactly a sign of recovery.
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