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The Week Ahead


INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Tuesday, Mar. 19, 8:30 a.m. EST -- The trade deficit is forecast to have widened to $26.5 billion in January. That's based on the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. In December, the deficit narrowed to $25.3 billion.

FOMC MEETING

Tuesday, Mar. 19, 9 a.m. EST -- The Federal Reserve Board's Open Market Committee will meet to set monetary policy. Economists surveyed by S&P's MMS unanimously expect the federal funds rate to remain unchanged.

NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION

Wednesday, Mar. 20, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Housing starts in February probably slipped 1.8%, to an annual rate of 1.65 million.

FEDERAL BUDGET

Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2 p.m. EST -- The U.S. Treasury is forecast to report a $62 billion deficit for February, after running a $43.7 billion surplus during January.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

Thursday, Mar. 21, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Consumer prices for goods and services probably rose 0.2% the second time in a row in February. Excluding food and energy, core prices are also forecast to have increased by 0.2% for a second consecutive month.

LEADING INDICATORS

Thursday, Mar. 21, 10 a.m. EST -- The Conference Board's February composite index of leading economic indicators likely rose 0.2%. In January, the index jumped 0.6%.


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