Monday, Feb. 1, 10 a.m.

The National Association of Purchasing Management's index of business activity likely rose to 56.5% in January, from 55.4% in December, forecast economists surveyed by MMS International, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc. The expected reading of the NAPM index would be the highest in 412 years.


Monday, Feb. 1, 10 a.m.

Outlays for construction projects probably increased by 0.5% in December. That's suggested by the healthy gain in homebuilding at yearend. Construction spending has risen strongly for three consecutive months, including a 2.1% jump in November.


Tuesday, Feb. 2, 8:30 a.m.

The government's composite index of leading indicators--designed to foreshadow the economy's path--probably rose by 0.9% in December. The index was up 0.8% in November.


Tuesday, Feb. 2, 10 a.m.

The MMS report projects that new home sales rebounded by 5% in December, to an annual rate of 593,000. Home buying had plunged 8.3% in November, but the strong showing of existing-home sales suggests a turnaround at yearend.


Thursday, Feb. 4, 10 a.m.

Manufacturers probably cut inventories by a small 0.2% in December, after a 0.5% drop in November.


Friday, Feb. 5, 8:30 a.m.

The MMS report forecasts that nonfarm payrolls increased by 100,000 in January. If so, that would be the strongest job gain since a federal summer-jobs program for teenagers temporarily lifted employment by 171,000 in July. Even with the healthy addition of new jobs, though, the January unemployment rate is expected to remain 7.3%, the same as in November and December.

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