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Business Outlook


PRODUCER PRICE INDEX Wednesday, Nov. 13, 8:30 a.m.

Producer prices likely rose by just 0.2% in October, say economists surveyed by MMS International, a unit of McGraw-Hill Inc. Excluding food and energy, prices are expected to have advanced by 0.1% last month. Inflation in producer prices has been extremely subdued. In September, total producer prices increased a mere 0.1% and were unchanged when food and fuel costs were excluded.

RETAIL SALES Thursday, Nov. 14, 8:30 a.m.

Retail sales were unchanged in October, according to the MMS economists. That's suggested by the weakness in car sales and the rise in consumer pessimism. A stronger pace of car buying had fueled a 0.7% gain in retail sales in September.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX Thursday, Nov. 14, 8:30 a.m.

Consumer prices probably increased by 0.2% in October, though the pace without food and energy costs is likely to be a faster 0.3%. In September, the CPI jumped by 0.4% for all items and after excluding food and energy.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION Friday, Nov. 15, 9:15 a.m.

Output at the nation's factories, utilities, and mines was little changed in October. That's indicated by the declines in factory jobs and the workweek. In September, industrial production edged up by just 0.1%. In the same news release, the Federal Reserve is expected to report that the capacity utilization rate for all industry fell slightly last month, to 79.6% from 79.7% in September.

BUSINESS INVENTORIES Friday, Nov. 15, 10 a.m.

The MMS economists expect that inventories held by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers increased by 0.2% in September, after falling 0.1% in August. Factories already have reported a 0.4% rise in stock levels. Business sales probably rose a modest 0.4% in September, after no change in August. That's suggested by increases in factory shipments and retail sales.JAMES C. COOPER AND KATHLEEN MADIGAN

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