Investing.com - The number of housing starts issued in the U.S. rose more than expected in February, although building permits missed expectations after a much-larger-than-forecast decline, giving a mixed read on the health of the U.S. housing sector, official data showed Thursday.
In a report, the U.S. Commerce Department said that housing starts rose by 3.0% from the month before to hit a seasonally adjusted 1.288 million units last month from January's total of 1.251 million units, an upward revision from the initial 1.246 million. Analysts had expected February's reading to rise 1.4% from the prior month's initial reading.
Meanwhile, the number of building permits issued tumbled 6.2% to a seasonally adjusted 1.213 million units last month from 1.285 million the month before. Economists had forecast permits to fall by just 2.6% to 1.260 million units in February.
After the report, which was released simultaneous with weekly jobless claims and the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, EUR/USD was trading at 1.0724 from around 1.0718 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.2357 from 1.2343 earlier, while USD/JPY was at 113.32 from 113.27 earlier.
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, traded at 100.32, compared to 100.36 previously.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures were trading slightly higher. The blue-chip Dow futures gained 43 points, or 0.21%, the S&P 500 futures inched up 2 points, or 0.07%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures traded up 8 points, or 0.14%.
Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,231.00 a troy ounce, compared to $1,231.75 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $49.14 a barrel from $49.24 earlier.
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