Yes, these are perfectly safe and very normal.
I've been having strange behavior on my machine where dns and tcip/ip routing stops working and I'm forced to reboot. I installed ZoneAlarm as I was concerned that my machine had possibly become exploited and I wanted to track outbound network traffic. I was very surprised to see IE sending packets to 127.0.0.1 on startup before issuing a dns query and page request for the default homepage. It seemed even stranger than blocking this connection attempt disables all subsequent network activity for that IE session. I'm glad to see the topic already being discussed and wondered where I could find more info on why this behavior is "safe and very normal". I'd just accept the answer as fact but it still feels like something isn't right and I'd love to know more about what this initial connection to local host accomplishes and why it occurs in any app that hosts IE.
Operating System:Windows XP Pro
Product Name:ZoneAlarm (Free)