RETAIL SALES Tuesday, Aug. 13, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Retail sales likely slipped 0.1% in July following a 0.2% dip in June, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. However, given the weak reports from car dealers and other retailers, even the small decline may by too optimistic. Excluding cars, store sales likely rose 0.2% in July, after advancing 0.1% in June. CONSUMER PRICE INDEX Tuesday, Aug. 13, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The July CPI likely increased 0.2% for all items and for the core rate, which excludes food and energy prices, says the MMS report. In June, all prices rose a mere 0.1%, and core prices edged up 0.2%. BUSINESS INVENTORIES Wednesday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m.EDT -- Inventories held by manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers likely rose 0.2% in June. Stock levels fell 0.1% in May. PRODUCTIVITY AND COSTS Wednesday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m.EDT -- Output per hour worked in the nonfarm sector probably fell at an annual rate of about 0.5% in the second quarter, partly reversing a 2.1% gain in the first. If so, then unit labor costs likely grew about 3.5%, after rising 1.1% in the first quarter. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION Thursday, Aug. 15, 9:15 a.m.EDT -- Output at the nation's factories, mines, and utilities probably dropped 0.2% in July, after jumping 0.5% in June, forecasts the MMS report. That's suggested by the declines in manufacturing payrolls and workweek. The average operating rate for all industries likely slipped to 82.9% last month, from 83.2% in June. HOUSING STARTS Friday, Aug. 16, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Housing starts likely fell to an annual rate of 1.45 million in July, forecasts the MMS report. June starts had risen an unexpected 1.3%, to a 1.48 million pace.
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