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Longer-term interest rates have climbed by half a percentage point or more over the past month because of a combination of factors, including strong news about the U.S. economy, fading fear of turmoil in foreign markets and concern that the Federal Reserve may act to brake growth.

Yesterday, for example, yields on 30-year U.S. Treasury bonds jumped to 5.65 percent, from 5.51 percent at Wednesday’s close, after reports that January sales of existing homes rose to a record level while new orders for factory goods turned out to be unexpectedly strong for the second month. Just a month earlier, yields were at 5.12 percent.

Stronger economic growth increases the demand for credit by households and businesses, which tends to boost rates. Expectations about growth also play a significant role, both in terms of the demand for credit and whether, in the current situation, the Fed may decide to raise short-term rates to slow growth and contain inflation. Any Fed action — or an expectation of action — on short-term rates usually is reflected in part in longer-term rates.

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