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November 28, 2012  Wed 2:11 AM CT

XLF: SEE CHART GET CHAIN FIND STRATEGIES
Today's calendar features home sales and mortgage applications, but political uncertainty could trump economic data.

The Mortgage Bankers Association will report applications for home loans at 7 a.m. ET. The number, which isn't tracked by economists, showed a decline of 2.2 percent last week.

October new-home sales follow at 10 a.m. ET and are expected to show an annualized pace of 388,000 units. September's reading was 389,000.

Crude-oil inventories will be reported half an hour later. Last week they fell by 1.5 million barrels. Another decline could drive energy prices higher.

The Federal Reserve will also release its Beige Book report of economic conditions across the country. Most of the data at this point is backward-looking, however, and attention is more likely to focus on the "fiscal cliff" facing the federal government. Announcements of progress could spur buying of equities, while more signs of deadlock could hurt sentiment.
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