Rates were little changed Thursday as mixed economic data had little impact on mortgage-backed securities (MBS). This morning, weekly Jobless Claims fell to 280,000, well below the consensus forecast of 305,000. August Housing Starts declined by 14% to an annual rate of 956,000, far short of expectations. The Philly Fed index, a survey of manufacturers in the Philadelphia region, declined to 22.5, close to forecast. No other key data will be released today. Yesterday the Fed indicated it would end its bond purchase program known as “quantitative easing” next month, as expected. Fed officials continued to describe the labor market as containing “significant underutilization”, and maintained language saying the Fed Funds Rate will likely remain near zero for a “considerable time” after the end of the bond purchase program. MBS prices fell, pressuring interest rates, after Fed officials forecasted a faster pace of Fed Funds rate hikes over the next few years.