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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

RETAIL SALES

Wednesday, Oct. 15, 8:30 p.m. EDT -- Retail sales are expected to have risen

0.2% in September, based on the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS

International, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. August sales rose 0.4%.

Excluding autos, buying is projected to have increased 0.3% after climbing 0.3%

in August. September sales appear to have slowed from the rapid summer pace,

but supports under spending remain solid.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

Thursday, Oct. 16, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Consumer prices are expected to have

increased by 0.3% in September, based on the MMS survey results, after rising

0.2% in August. Higher energy prices are expected to have pushed the index up.

Excluding energy and food, the core index also is projected to have climbed

0.3%, reflecting higher tobacco and car prices.

BUSINESS INVENTORIES

Thursday, Oct. 16, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Inventories held by manufacturers,

wholesalers, and retailers are expected to have risen by 0.3% in August, says

the MMS poll, following a 0.2% increase in July. Stockpiles had grown much

faster in the second quarter, and a slower rate of buildup in the third quarter

will cut into the quarter's economic growth.

HOUSING STARTS

Friday, Oct. 17, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Housing starts in September are projected to

have risen substantially, to an annual rate of 1.42 million, based on the MMS

survey. Sales had dropped 4.8% in August, to 1.36 million, but new-home sales,

mortgage applications, and builders' optimism remain high.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

Friday, Oct. 17, 9:15 a.m. EDT -- The MMS poll expects industrial production to

post a 0.3% increase in September, less than August's 0.7% gain. Capacity

utilization is projected to have held steady at the August rate of 83.9%. The

slower pace is suggested by sluggishness in hours worked.


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