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January 11, 2012  Wed 12:16 AM CT

USO: SEE CHART GET CHAIN FIND STRATEGIES
Today's economic calendar is light but includes the Fed's anecdotal survey of the regional economy, the Beige Book, at 2 p.m. ET. Traders will be looking to that data for more reinforcement of the recent good economic news.

At 7 a.m. ET, the weekly MBA Purchase Applications will be reported. I look only at the purchases component of the report because it indicates new economic activity, as opposed to refinancing.

Economists do not make forecasts for this release, but last week's purchases came in at 163.9. A reading that is higher than that number by 5 percent or more would be bullish, while one that is lower by the same margin would be seen as bearish.

The EIA Petroleum Status Report will be released at 10:30 a.m. ET. Before the EIA data comes out, the American Petroleum Institute issues a competing report based on its own supply data.

The forecast for both reports was for a build of 750,000 barrels. But the API release, which came out last night after the market closed, showed a smaller build of 397,000 barrels instead.

If the EIA data confirms this smaller build or shows a negative number indicating a draw, it could be bullish for crude. If instead the build number is larger than the API's number, it could be bearish for oil prices.

The EIA is a government body, and the API is a private industry group. The two reports do not always agree either in terms of amount or direction.
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