Rates inched higher Thursday following the release of stronger than expected economic data. Weekly Jobless Claims declined to 361,000, below the consensus forecast of 370,000. The June Trade Deficit came in below expectations at $42.9 billion. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported average 30-year fixed rates of 3.59% with 0.6 “points”, the second consecutive weekly increase from a historic low of 3.49%. Many of the larger banks have increased profit margins this year as mortgage demand has risen while competition has declined. Results from today’s 30-year Treasury auction will be released at 1:00 PM.