Today's Economic Data Highlights

Today we have claims, housing starts, current account, Philly Fed index, and the Fed’s balance sheet. There is also a $6-8 billion POMO of 6/30/2013 – 11/30/2014 maturities.
8:30: Unemployment insurance claims….still trending down?  Expectations for initial claims are for essentially no change from the prior week’s figure, but this forecast would still bring the four-week average down a bit further.  Continuing claims are expected to give back a small part of last week’s sharp decline.  Data for emergency/extended benefits tend to see-saw from week to week; if that pattern persists they could increase significantly in this week’s report, the last before the latest lapse in these programs began on December 1.  Data for initial claims pertain to the reference week for the December payroll survey.
For initial claims, median forecast (of 48): 425k, ranging from 405k to 435k; last 421k.
For continuing claims, median forecast (of 15): 4.115 million, ranging from 4mm to 4.2mm; last 4.086mm.

8:30: Housing starts and permits for Nov…stabilization?  Last month’s report featured a sharp drop in multifamily starts, back to a level that appears to be more consistent with working off excess inventory in this sector.  We therefore think this report will show little change, with a slight positive bias.
On starts,  median forecast (of 76) +6.0%, ranging from +0.2% to +14.6%; last -11.7%.
On permits, median forecast (of 56) +1.5%, ranging from -2.2% to +6%; last +0.5%.
8:30: Current account balance for Q3…a slightly wider deficit?  In nominal terms the trade deficit in goods and services was about $1½bn wider in Q3 than in Q2.  We also expect a modest setback in the balances of income and net unilateral transfers.
GS: median forecast (of 37): -$126bn, ranging from -$132bn to -$115bn; last -$123.3bn.
10:00: Philadelphia Fed business index for Dec…will it also mean revert?  Last month this index move up about as sharply as the Empire index moved down.  Yesterday the Empire index corrected, and analysts see some mean reversion in the Philly Fed index as well, albeit to a level that still indicates solid growth in the sector.
median forecast (of 58): +15, ranging from +5 to +20.5; last +22.5.
16:30: Federal Reserve balance sheet….We should continue to see acquisitions of Treasury securities and growth in the balance sheet.