RETAIL SALES
      Thursday, Dec. 11, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Retail sales likely edged up 0.3% in 
      November, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS 
      International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Excluding motor vehicles, 
      sales probably rose 0.2%. That's suggested by the weekly surveys of national 
      retailers. November is the start of the holiday shopping season, and most 
      economists expect yearend buying to be good, but not spectacular, in part 
      because consumers went on a spending spree in the third quarter. In October, 
      total retail purchases fell 0.2%, but the weakness was at car dealers. Nonauto 
      sales rose a healthy 0.4%.
      
      UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
      Thursday, Dec. 11, 8:30 a.m. EST -- New claims for state unemployment benefits 
      likely increased to 330,000 for the week ended Dec. 6. Through the first three 
      weeks in November, claims were running at a much lower 317,000, but new filings 
      generally jump in the week after a holiday week, and state offices were closed 
      on Nov. 27 for Thanksgiving.
      
      PRODUCER PRICE INDEX
      Friday, Dec. 12, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Producer prices of finished goods likely 
      increased 0.1% in November, the same gain as in October, says the MMS survey. 
      Excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, core prices probably rose 0.1% 
      last month, after no change in October. Thanks in part to falling import 
      prices, the annual inflation rate for goods is running close to zero.
      
      BUSINESS INVENTORIES
      Friday, Dec. 12, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Inventories held by manufacturers, 
      wholesalers, and retailers likely rose a solid 0.4% in October, on top of a 
      strong 0.7% gain in September. Business sales probably advanced just 0.2% in 
      October, after jumping 1.3% in September. Retailers have already reported a 
      0.2% drop in their October sales. Even though inventories are growing, they are 
      not rising fast enough to keep pace with the upward trend in sales.
      
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