Mortgage rates inched lower Wednesday following December’s Retail Sales data showing a larger than expected monthly decline of 2.7%. Stocks fell sharply. Treasurys rallied on a flight to quality by investors, but mortgage-backed securities’ (MBS) prices did not improve as dramatically. Retail rates to consumers are being affected more by the industry’s capacity to manage their current application pipelines than by underlying MBS prices. If MBS yields maintain present levels, rates will improve as lenders gain control of their pipelines.