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by Trevor Sines

Most of the movement in mortgage rates had been slow, steady, and generally unfriendly in recent weeks.  Today was a stark exception as rates surged significantly lower (relative to their recent range) following weaker-than-expected economic data. Weak economic data tends to help rates move lower, and this morning's reports were the most important of the week (Retail Sales and Consumer Prices).  The reaction to the data was swift because investors were waiting to see if it would confirm fears about the direction of rates earlier in the week.  Not only did the data fail to confirm the fears, it suggested a completely contrary move.  In other words, rates were forced to make a quick course correction.  They ended up moving right back in line with last Friday's levels for most lenders.  The entire week of anxiety was erased in a few short hours, with the average lender nearly an eighth of a percentage point lower on a conventional 30yr fixed quote.

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