LEADING INDICATORS Tuesday, Feb. 20, 8:30 a.m.EST -- The index of leading indicators, now compiled by the Conference Board, was probably flat in December, after slipping 0.3% in November. The November index is expected to be revised sharply now that more government data are available. The index has not risen since August. HUMPHREY-HAWKINS TESTIMONY Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2 p.m.EST -- As required by law, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will appear before the House subcommittee on monetary policy to testify on the conduct of monetary policy and disclose the Fed's central-tendency forecast for economic growth, unemployment, and inflation for 1996. FEDERAL BUDGET Thursday, Feb. 22, 2 p.m.EST -- The Treasury Dept. is expected to report a January surplus of $20 billion, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Washington had a surplus of $15.6 billion in January, 1995. GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT Friday, Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m.EST -- Real GDP probably grew at an annual rate of 1.6% in the fourth quarter, says the median MMS forecast. However, a big improvement in foreign trade may have lifted growth closer to 2% or more. The economy expanded at a 3.2% pace in the third quarter, but domestic demand slowed sharply at yearend. The GDP deflator probably increased at a 2.3% annual rate in the fourth quarter, about the same rise as in the third. HOUSING STARTS Friday, Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m.EST -- The MMS survey forecasts that housing starts fell sharply to an annual rate of 1.25 million in January, from a likely 1.3 million in December and a 1.42 million rate in November. The East Coast blizzard plus record cold temperatures across much of the nation quashed homebuilding last month.
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