Business Week Index
THE WEEK AHEAD
Thursday, Dec. 11, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Retail sales likely edged up 0.3% in
November, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS
International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Excluding motor vehicles,
sales probably rose 0.2%. That's suggested by the weekly surveys of national
retailers. November is the start of the holiday shopping season, and most
economists expect yearend buying to be good, but not spectacular, in part
because consumers went on a spending spree in the third quarter. In October,
total retail purchases fell 0.2%, but the weakness was at car dealers. Nonauto
sales rose a healthy 0.4%.
Thursday, Dec. 11, 8:30 a.m. EST -- New claims for state unemployment benefits
likely increased to 330,000 for the week ended Dec. 6. Through the first three
weeks in November, claims were running at a much lower 317,000, but new filings
generally jump in the week after a holiday week, and state offices were closed
on Nov. 27 for Thanksgiving.
PRODUCER PRICE INDEX
Friday, Dec. 12, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Producer prices of finished goods likely
increased 0.1% in November, the same gain as in October, says the MMS survey.
Excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, core prices probably rose 0.1%
last month, after no change in October. Thanks in part to falling import
prices, the annual inflation rate for goods is running close to zero.
Friday, Dec. 12, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Inventories held by manufacturers,
wholesalers, and retailers likely rose a solid 0.4% in October, on top of a
strong 0.7% gain in September. Business sales probably advanced just 0.2% in
October, after jumping 1.3% in September. Retailers have already reported a
0.2% drop in their October sales. Even though inventories are growing, they are
not rising fast enough to keep pace with the upward trend in sales.