Options Trading News

February 21, 2013  Thu 1:16 AM CT

A diverse combination of economic data is scheduled for release today, and it's not clear which reports--if any--will sway market sentiment.

Weekly jobless claims get things rolling at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect a reading of 358,000, up from 341,000 last week.

Consumer prices for January will be reported at the same time and are expected to increase by 0.1 percent versus an unchanged number last month. Excluding food and energy, economists anticipate an increase of 0.2 percent, up from 0.1 percent in December.

While inflation hasn't been a concern to investors, yesterday's Federal Reserve minutes indicated that some policymakers are less willing to keep pumping money into the economy. Strong economic data could add to that opinion, so good news could be interpreted bearishly.

Existing home sales follow at 10 a.m. ET and are expected to show a 4.94 million pace. Homebuilders fell yesterday after housing starts missed estimates badly, so another weak number could trigger more selling in the industry.

The Energy Department will report natural-gas inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET and crude-oil inventories at 11 a.m. ET.

Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores is also scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings before the opening bell.
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