Mortgage rates inched higher Thursday following the release of mixed economic data. December Housing Starts fell 8% to an annual rate of 1,192,000, well below the consensus forecast of 1,280,000. Severe weather in many parts of the country was a likely factor in the disappointing results. Separately, weekly Jobless Claims fell to 220,000, well below expectations, to the lowest level since 1973. The Philly Fed regional manufacturing index declined to 22.2, a bit lower than expected. Readings above zero indicate expansion in manufacturing in the Philadelphia region. Stocks moved lower on concerns over a looming partial government shutdown if a temporary funding bill is not passed by midnight Friday. No other key economic data will be released today.