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March 21, 2013  Thu 2:14 AM CT

XHB: SEE CHART GET CHAIN FIND STRATEGIES
Initial jobless claims and housing data are the main items on today's event calendar.

The Labor Department will announce jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect a reading of 345,000, up from 332,000 last week. A lower number may be interpreted bullishly because it would suggest that fewer Americans lost their jobs.

The FHFA Housing Price Index for January follows at 9 a.m. ET. February existing home sales come out one hour later. Neither report is likely to have a strong influence on housing stocks because they are now relatively out of date.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve will also release its regional index of economic activity at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect a reading of -3, up from -12.5 last month.

Weekly changes in natural-gas inventories follow at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Athletic-apparel company Nike will report earnings after the closing bell. 
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