Mortgage rates eased Thursday, driven by a sharp sell off in stocks. Economic news was mixed. Weekly Jobless Claims rose to 551,000, above forecast. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing index reading of 52.6 indicated slight growth in manufacturing, but fell short of expectations. Pending Home Sales rose a strong 6.4%, the seventh consecutive monthly increase. Analysts attribute part of the increase to delayed closings and extended loan processing times resulting from a large number of short sales and cumbersome new appraisal regulations. The Treasury will announce the size of upcoming auctions today at 11:00 AM. Investors will be closely watching tomorrow’s Nonfarm Payrolls report for September.