RETAIL SALES Tuesday, Mar. 14, 8:30 a.m. -- Retail sales likely increased 0.2% in February, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, a unit of McGraw-Hill Inc. Sales have been slack recently, with receipts up just 0.2% in both December and January. Purchases of durable goods have been particularly weak. PRODUCER PRICE INDEX Wednesday, Mar. 15, 8:30 a.m. -- Producer prices of finished goods likely rose 0.2% in February for all goods and when food and energy are excluded. Prices rose 0.3% in January, and just 0.2% when food and energy are taken out. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION Wednesday, Mar. 15, 9:15 a.m. -- Output rose 0.4% in February, forecasts the MMS survey, the same solid gain as in January. Still, industry is downshifting. Output rose by 0.8% in November and 0.9% in December. Industry likely used 85.6% of capacity last month, from 85.5% of January. BUSINESS INVENTORIES Wednesday, Mar. 15, 10 a.m. -- Inventories held by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers likely rose 0.5% in January. Factories have already said their stock levels jumped 1%. Business sales probably rose by 0.4% in January, much less than the 1.3% gain posted in December. CONSUMER PRICE INDEX Thursday, Mar. 16, 8:30 a.m. -- The MMS median forecast for the February CPI calls for a 0.3% rise in both the total price index and the core rate, which excludes food and energy. In January, the total index inched up 0.3%, while the core rate rose 0.4%. HOUSING STARTS Thursday, Mar. 16, 8:30 a.m. -- Housing starts probably bounced back to an annual rate of 1.38 million in February, after plunging 9.8% in January, to a 1.3 million pace. Single-family starts dropped 12.3% for the month. Even so, high mortgage rates mean that housing will continue to trend lower as 1995 progresses.
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