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The Week Ahead


LEADING INDICATORS

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 10 a.m. EST -- The Conference Board's December composite index of leading economic indicators likely rose 0.5%, the same gain posted in November. That's based on the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. The report will also contain annual revisions to the 2001 data.

FEDERAL BUDGET

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2 p.m. EST -- The U.S. Treasury is forecast to report a December surplus of $24.5 billion, compared with a surplus of $32.6 billion in December, 2000, and a $54.3 billion deficit in November. Through the first two months of fiscal year 2002, falling revenues and significant stimulus and defense expenditures have caused a $63.7 billion deficit, compared with a $35 billion gap for the same period a year ago.

INITIAL UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS

Thursday, Jan. 24, 8:30 a.m. EST -- New filings for state unemployment benefits likely came to 415,000 for the week ended Jan. 19. Because of office closings during the holiday season, jobless claims have been volatile recently.

EXISTING HOME SALES

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m. EST -- Sales of existing homes in December probably fell at an annual rate of 5.13 million, from 5.21 million in November. Based on the S&P forecast, existing home sales in 2001 reached a record 5.24 million units, eclipsing the previous high of 5.19 million houses in 1999.


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