Mortgage rates continued their upward trend Thursday following a late sell-off of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) Wednesday. Treasuries and MBS’s have been hard hit in recent days as traders have become wary of growing government debt obligations. In economic news, Housing Starts fell more than expected in December. Weekly Jobless Claims spiked to 589,000, more than forecast. Stocks moved sharply lower on the data. Freddie Mac reported refinance activity accounted for 89% of all conventional mortgage applications during the first three weeks of 2009. Lenders continue to struggle with capacity issues and have had to buffer pricing to limit application volume.