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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

RETAIL SALES

Monday, Jan. 29, 8:30 a.m. -- Retail sales probably rose 0.6% in December, says

the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The

McGraw-Hill Companies. Most of the strength will be in autos. Excluding

vehicles, sales likely were up a mere 0.2%, helped by higher gasoline prices.

In November, total sales rose 0.8%; excluding cars, they rose 0.9%.

FOMC MEETING

Tuesday, Jan. 30 -- The Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee will

meet to set monetary policy. The MMS forecast is that the federal funds rate

will remain at 5.5%. The meeting will continue into Jan. 31.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 10 a.m. -- The Conference Board's index of consumer

confidence was probably little changed in January from its reading of 98.7 in

December.

FEDERAL BUDGET

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2 p.m. -- The government likely had a deficit of about $5

billion in December, vs. $4.8 billion a year ago.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 8:30 a.m. -- Producer prices of finished goods likely

increased by 0.4% in December, led by rising gasoline and natural gas prices.

The PPI rose 0.5% in November.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

Thursday, Feb. 1, 8:30 a.m. -- Consumer prices likely rose 0.3% in December,

after no change in November. As with producer prices, higher energy costs led

the runup.

NAPM SURVEY

Thursday, Feb. 1, 10 a.m. -- The National Association of Purchasing

Management's index likely fell to 45% in blizzard-impaired January, from 46% in

December.

EMPLOYMENT

Friday, Feb. 2, 8:30 a.m. -- The MMS forecast calls for a job gain of 125,000

in January, after a rise of 151,000 in December. The jobless rate likely

remained at 5.6%.

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