Business Week Index
THE WEEK AHEAD
Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2 p.m.EST -- The Federal Reserve Board will release its
report on regional economic activity as seen by its district banks. The Beige
Book is prepared in advance of the Fed's upcoming policy meeting on Mar. 25.
Now that Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has publicly wondered whether worker
insecurity is beginning to fade, Fed watchers will be especially interested in
Beige Book reports of regional labor shortages and wage gains.
Thursday, Mar. 13, 8:30 a.m.EST -- Retail sales probably increased by a healthy
0.5% in February, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by
MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Excluding autos, sales
probably also advanced 0.5%. In January, sales were surprisingly strong: Total
purchases increased 0.6%, while non-auto buying was up 0.4%.
Friday, Mar. 14, 8:30 a.m.EST -- Inventories held by manufacturers,
wholesalers, and retailers likely rose 0.2% in January, says the MMS report.
That follows a 0.1% decline in December.
PRODUCER PRICE INDEX
Friday, Mar. 14, 8:30 a.m.EST -- Producer prices for finished goods probably
rose just 0.1% in February, even after falling food and energy prices caused a
0.3% decline in the PPI in January. Excluding the food and fuel sectors, core
prices likely rose 0.1% in February after no change in January.
Friday, Mar. 14, 9:15 a.m.EST -- Output at the nation's factories, mines, and
utilities probably edged up 0.3% in February, after no change in January,
forecasts the MMS survey. That's suggested by the increase in production
reported by the National Association of Purchasing Management. Capacity
utilization rates for all industry likely averaged 83.4% in February, up
slightly from 83.3% in January.