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The Week Ahead


Monday, Mar. 29, 10 a.m. EST -- New homes in February likely sold at an annual rate of 919,000, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Sales fell 5% in January, to 918,000.FOMC MEETING

Tuesday, Mar. 30, 9 a.m. EST -- The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee will meet to set monetary policy. The federal funds rate is expected to remain at 4.75%.CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

Tuesday, Mar. 30, 10 a.m. EST -- The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence likely slipped to 131.0 in March, from 132.1 in February. Consumer optimism is crucial to the economy, since household spending has been the major power behind growth.FACTORY INVENTORIES

Wednesday, Mar. 31, 10 a.m. EST -- Factory stock levels likely fell another 0.2% in February, after a 0.3% drop in January.PERSONAL INCOME

Thursday, Apr .1 8:30 a.m. EST -- The S&P MMS forecast expects that in February personal income increased 0.4%, while consumer spending jumped 0.6%. In January, incomes were up 0.6%, but outlays rose a milder 0.3%.NAPM SURVEY

Thursday, Apr. 1, 10 a.m. EST -- The National Association of Purchasing Management's index probably stood at 52.2% in March, little changed from February's 52.4%.CONSTRUCTION SPENDING

Thursday, Apr. 1, 10 a.m. EST -- Building spending probably increased 0.5% in February, on top of a 1.7% jump in January.EMPLOYMENT

Friday, Apr. 2, 8:30 a.m. EST -- The S&P MMS median forecast calls for a 175,00 gain in new jobs in March, after a strong 275,000 advance in February. The jobless rate is projected to remain at 4.4%.

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