Investing.com - The number of housing starts issued in the U.S. rose much more than expected in November, while building permits also rose sharply, boosting optimism over the health of the U.S. housing sector, official data showed Wednesday.
In a report, the U.S. Commerce Department said that housing starts jumped 10.5% to hit a seasonally adjusted 1.173 million units last month from October's total of 1.062 million units. Analysts had expected a rise 6.6% to 1.135 million.
Meanwhile, the number of building permits issued rose 11.0% to a seasonally adjusted 1.289 million units from October's total of 1.161 million, easily surpassing market expectations for a decline of 1.0% to 1.150 million units.
EUR/USD was trading at 1.0927 from around 1.0932 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.5019 from 1.5015 earlier, while USD/JPY was at 121.91 from 121.86 earlier.
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 98.28, compared to 98.25 ahead of the report.
Meanwhile, the outlook for U.S. equity markets was upbeat. The Dow futures pointed to a gain of 102 points, or 0.59%, at the open, the S&P 500 futures indicated a rise 11 points, or 0.53%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures increased 24 points, or 0.51%.
Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,069.90 a troy ounce, compared to $1,070.40 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $37.16 a barrel from $37.12 earlier.
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