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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

BEIGE BOOK

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.

RETAIL SALES

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%.

BUSINESS INVENTORIES

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.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

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.


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