December 29, 2005
1. Mortgage Rates Holding
A stronger-than-expected report on Consumer Confidence released Wednesday put pressure on U.S. Treasury securities in the early going. Bonds were also under scrutiny due to the inversion of the yield curve, which occurred on Tuesday for the first time in five years. A yield curve inverts when the yield on the two-year note is higher than that of the 10-year note. History shows that an inverted yield curve can indicate an economic slowdown or even recession, as it did most recently in 2000 and 1989. This time around, however, pundits are not predicting that either will occur. Nevertheless, inversion is the talk of the financial markets during this, a light-volume week with little in the way of economic news.
2. Mortgage Rates Begin to Slip
A decline in the sale of existing homes and a bond friendly Chicago PMI kept bond traders from selling U.S. Treasury securities on Thursday, but that was about it. Even a slight uptick in first-time unemployment claims and a successful auction of two-year notes didn't stir up any action in the bond pits. Instead, traders focused on the yield curve inversion and the economic indicators due next week, which include the ISM index on manufacturing and the all-important employment report for December, due Jan. 6.
The Pro Shop: Don’t Buy the Bubble Talk
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Pundit Watch: Outlook 2006: Jeffrey Kleintop
The chief strategist at PNC Advisors sees ho-hum gains for stocks next year.
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