Rates down & oil up (but volatile) on Libya unrest and weaker U.S. new home sales

Bonds and especially oil are trading wildly today as markets sort through mixed data. Both are generally up as the Libya situation unfolds, and when bond prices rise on a rally, rates drop. As for oil, was as high as $103 today and now more like $97. Below are the data releases from today: jobs data was better than expected, durable goods orders (a measure of manufacturing activity) was worse than expected, and also new home sales were worse than expected. Side-note on the image shown: it’s from Al Jazeera’s daily blog on Libya.

Also today we’ve had 3 other data points: (1) Jobless Claims dropped by 22k, from 413,000 down to 391,000. Continuing Claims also dropped. (2) Durable Goods were +2.7% in January, versus a drop of .4% in December. (3) January sales of new single family houses were down 12.6% from previous month and down 18.6% from January 2010, with an average sales price of $260,300. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 188,000. This represents a supply of 7.9 months at the current sales rate.