Rates inched higher Thursday reflecting yesterday’s late sell-off of mortgage-backed securities following the release of minutes from last month’s Fed meeting. Detailed minutes from the October meeting revealed that Fed officials expect improvement in the labor market to be sufficient to warrant tapering of its quantitative easing program “in coming months.” This morning, weekly Jobless Claims declined to 323,000, well below forecast. The October Producer Price Index (PPI) fell by 0.2%, matching expectations, and was a tame 0.3% higher than one year ago. Core PPI, which excludes food and energy components, was 0.2% higher in October and was 1.4% higher year-over-year. The Philly Fed index, a survey of manufacturers in the region, came in at 6.5, much lower than expected. Janet Yellen’s nomination to replace Ben Bernanke as Fed Chairman was approved by the Senate Banking Committee with bipartisan support. Her confirmation by the full Senate is expected. No other key data will be released today.