It remains to be seen whether today's economic data will even matter given the incredibly light participation so far this week.  In other words, today's normally meaningful reports could be like trees falling in the woods.  I've always been sure that those trees make a sound.  I mean c'mon...

But the silly philosophical argument about sound being a 2-way street is strangely germane to the trading world.  We really didn't get much of an uptick in trader participation last week, given the long-term lows made in Treasury yields.  If there are fewer traders around to hear the sounds of data and events, they do indeed make a different sound than if participation was robust.

While this usually means "less sound," there are circumstances where thin participation can make for a lopsided response to what might have otherwise been more balanced trading.  That's been the exception to the rule so far this year. 

The biggest risks/opportunity today lies with the Consumer Price Index.  If you've read this site for any length of time, you know that CPI has been at the kiddy table of market movers--no, perhaps even the dog house--for years.  So yes, times are changing.  It's nothing extreme just yet, but markets are increasingly ready to consider the topic of inflation, and the fact that FOMC Minutes are coming up tomorrow makes it more of an issue.

Housing Starts also has some potential as last month's awful results effectively took a trend that looked like it was improving and suddenly made it flat.  Beyond all that, there's still susceptibility to geopolitical headlines.  We're also susceptible to a LACK of headlines, in that, if we don't get them, the natural bent for bond markets will be to keep pricing out last week's gains.

2014-8-18 housing starts

MBS Pricing Snapshot
Pricing shown below is delayed, please note the timestamp at the bottom. Real time pricing is available via MBS Live.
FNMA 3.0
99-03 : +0-04
FNMA 3.5
102-18 : -0-02
FNMA 4.0
105-24 : +0-03
2 YR
0.4190 : +0.0000
10 YR
2.3710 : -0.0160
30 YR
3.1700 : -0.0260
Pricing as of 8/19/14 7:42AMEST

Tomorrow's Economic Calendar
Time Event Period Forecast Prior
Tuesday, Aug 19
8:30 Housing starts number mm (ml)* Jul 0.969 0.893
8:30 Core CPI mm, sa (%)* Jul 0.2 0.1
8:30 CPI mm, sa (%)* Jul 0.1 0.3
8:30 Building permits: number (ml)* Jul 1.000 0.973