RETAIL SALES Tuesday, Feb. 14, 8:30 a.m. January retail sales are expected to show a slim 0.1% gain, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, a unit of McGraw-Hill Inc., mainly reflecting weaker-looking auto sales caused by a change in Detroit's reporting dates. Nonauto sales should be up a stronger 0.7%. CONSUMER PRICE INDEX Wednesday, Feb. 15, 8:30 a.m. The January CPI will show a 0.2% increase, say the economists, the same as in December. The core index, which excludes energy and food will also be up 0.2%, after the previous month's 0.1% rise. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION Wednesday, Feb. 15, 9:15 a.m. January industrial output at the nation's factories, utilities, and mines is expected to post a 0.4% increase, says the survey, following December's 1% gain. Capacity utilization will edge up a tenth of a point, to 85.5%, from December's 15-year high. BUSINESS INVENTORIES Wednesday, Feb. 15, 10 a.m. December inventories in manufacturing, wholesaling, and retailing most likely increased by 0.5%, say the forecasters, following November's 0.7% gain. Stock levels have risen sharply in recent months, but overall sales have been sturdy as well. HOUSING STARTS Thursday, Feb. 16, 8:30 a.m. Despite January's unusually mild weather, higher mortgage rates are expected to take a toll on the month's housing starts. The economists look for starts to fall by 4.3%, after December's 1% drop. Sales of new homes are softening, and based on current sales rates, the one-month supply of unsold homes stood near a four-year high in December. INTERNATIONAL TRADE Friday, Feb. 17, 8:30 a.m. The economists project that December's trade deficit for goods and services will narrow slightly to $10.4 billion, after having widened to $10.5 billion in November.
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