Initial jobless claims and corporate earnings are the main events on today's calendar.
Claims, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. ET, are expected to show 330,000 Americans sought unemployment benefits for the first time last week, down from 374,000 in the previous period. Lower readings would be considered bullish and higher numbers bearish.
Under normal circumstances, housing starts and building permits for September would come out at the same time but it's not clear they will be released because the Commerce Department was closed during the government shutdown. Economists expected starts of 915,000 on an annualized pace, up from 891,000 in August. Permits are expected to increase to 932,000 from 918,000.
The Federal Reserve follows with September industrial-production data at 9:15 a.m., which seldom impacts sentiment because it's foreshadowed by other reports.
The Philadelphia Fed issues its regional activity index at 10 a.m. Economists forecast it will slow to 7 from 22.3. While it usually has no effect on trading, it provides clues on the direction of the broader economy.
Big earnings reports come in the morning from Goldman Sachs, Baxter International, UnitedHealth, Union Pacific and Verizon Communications. The afternoon brings Google, Capital One, Las Vegas Sands and Intuitive Surgical.
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