Jobless claims are top item on docket


Today's economic calendar is relatively light, with weekly jobless claims as the main item.

Economists expect that 350,000 people sought employment benefits for the first time for the seven-day period ending March 9, up slightly from the previous week's 340,000 total. A lower reading may be interpreted bullishly because it would mean that fewer Americans lost their jobs. The Labor Department will announce the figure at 8:30 a.m. ET.

February producer prices will be released at the same time. Forecasts look for a headline figure of 0.6 percent, compared with 0.2 percent in January. The core rate, which excludes food and energy, is expected to increase 0.2 percent. Inflation has not been a major focus of the market recently, so the data is unlikely to affect sentiment.

The calendar is more active tomorrow, with consumer prices, the New York Federal Reserve's Empire State Index, industrial production, and consumer sentiment.

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