Long-term interest rates took an unexpected turn to the upside last week. Yields on the 30-year, US Treasury bond rose close to 5.5 percent, a steady climb from summer lows near 4.75 percent. The T-bond sets the tone for mortgage rates and measures market concerns about inflation.
And those concerns were fed by Friday's report on US economic growth, which rose a sizzling 6.1 percent in the last quarter of 1998, the fastest pace in 15 years. A hot economy usually means higher inflation, however the inflation readings in the same report showed less than expected increases for prices.