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The Week Ahead


Monday, Mar. 27, 10 a.m. EST -- Existing homes probably sold at an annual rate of 4.75 million in February, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. In January, resales tumbled 10.7%, to a 4.59 million pace, but the weakness partly reflected a shortage of homes on the market plus extremely bad weather in some areas. Despite rising mortgage rates, housing demand remains quite robust.CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

Tuesday, Mar. 28, 10 a.m. EST -- The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence probably slipped to 140 in March from 141.8 in February. The recent volatility in the stock market probably contributed to the small drop in consumer optimism about the economy. But strong labor markets are keeping households historically upbeat about their financial futures. The confidence index hit a record peak of 144.7 in January.NEW SINGLE-FAMILY HOME SALES

Wednesday, Mar. 29, 10 a.m. EST -- New homes likely sold at an annual rate of 880,000 in February, says the S&P MMS survey. That would be about even with the 882,000 sales rate for January.PERSONAL INCOME

Friday, Mar. 31, 8:30 a.m. EST -- The S&P MMS median forecast expects that personal income increased a modest 0.4% in February, after a 0.7% advance in January. Consumer spending probably rose a solid 0.8% in February, on top of January's 0.5% increase. The strong February spending gain is suggested by record motor-vehicle sales as well as gains in other retail purchases.

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