Mortgage volume has been above normal in recent sessions, with Treasury yields trending lower and with the outlook for a full-blown recession gaining steam.

Influencing events in the first half of last week were a weaker-than-expected retail sales report for December, Citigroup's record loss of $9.83 billion in the fourth quarter, resulting from $18.1 billion in write-downs, and a lower-than-expected quarterly profit from JPMorgan following a $1.3 billion write-down. By midweek, the market was waiting to hear Merrill Lynch's fourth quarter results that came out on Thursday.

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