Jobless claims are today's main data

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Weekly initial jobless claims are the main event on today's calendar, though political events could trump economic data.

The Labor Department reports the numbers at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists anticipate a reading of about 375,000, up from 355,000 in the previous week. A smaller number would be bullish, while a larger one could hurt sentiment.

Two other reports will be released at the same: The New York Federal Reserve's Empire Manufacturing Survey and the Consumer Price Index. The Empire index is expected to come in at -8, down from -6.2 in October. CPI is expected to show inflation of about 0.1 percent. Neither report is likely to have a major impact on sentiment.

Politics and public finances remain the biggest concern for investors. Israel began an offensive against militants in Gaza yesterday, while uncertainty remains in the United States and Europe over government spending and debts.

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