Business Week Index
THE WEEK AHEAD
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Consumer prices for all goods and services
likely increased 0.1% in December, according to the median forecast of
economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
Excluding food and energy, core prices likely edged up 0.2% last month. In
November, both total prices and core prices rose a mere 0.1%. The inflation
rate is set to end 1997 below 2%, thanks in large part to falling prices for
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 8:30 a.m. EST -- The median MMS forecast expects that
retailers had a good but not great holiday season. December retail sales likely
rose 0.4%, after a 0.2% gain in November. Excluding motor-vehicle sales, store
receipts likely rose 0.3% in December, on top of a 0.2% advance in November.
After their spending surged at a 5.6% annual rate in the third quarter,
consumers slacked off a bit in the fourth. Still, real consumer spending likely
grew by 2.5%, with outlays for services growing at a 4% clip.
Thursday, Jan. 15, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Inventories held at manufacturers,
wholesalers, and retailers likely grew 0.3% in November, after a 0.4% rise in
October. Factories have already reported a 0.3% increase in their stock levels
for the month. Business sales likely rose 0.4% in November, after slipping 0.1%
Friday, Jan. 16, 9:15 a.m. EST -- The MMS survey calls for a 0.3% rise in
industrial output in December, much less than the 0.8% increase in November.
However, railcar shortages delayed delivery of supplies to some producers. But
even with the smaller increase last month, output likely grew at an annual rate
of 6.4% in the fourth quarter, faster than the 6.1% rate in the third. The
average operating rate for all industry probably rose to 83.4% in December,
from 83.2% in November.