In a report this morning, the Census Bureau announced that Housing Starts in December rose by 5.8% against an expected gain of just 0.8%. November’s growth of 1.2% was revised to 3.1%. Building Permits rose 4.5% last month versus a forecast of a 1.7% decline. Another unexpected improvement was the move made by the Philadelphia Fed’s Business Conditions Outlook Survey Index. That measure vaulted to 26.5 from 9.1 while analysts were looking for 11.8.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also released Initial Jobless Claims for the week ending January 16th and they totaled 900k while the prior week’s count of 965k was revised to 926k. Analysts were expecting 935k for today’s report. Continuing Claims for the week ending January 9th fell to 5.05M from a slightly revised 5.18M as experts were expecting 5.3M.

Overnight, the European Central Bank reaffirmed its accommodative stance of asset purchases while it left its policy rate unchanged at minus 0.5%. In early trading, Treasury prices are slightly lower and that has pushed the Ten-Year’s yield up to around 1.11% with the Long Bond at 1.87%. The Two-Year looks steady at 13 basis points. Crude oil is off slightly to $53.13 while gold’s $4 dip takes that price to $1,868. Domestic equity indices are slightly in the green.