Friday, Dec. 28, 8:30 a.m. EST -- New orders for durable goods probably sank 5% in November. That's according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. In October, durable goods orders soared 12.8%, as orders not placed in September were finally booked. In addition, defense aircraft

orders jumped nearly 500%, but the volatile defense category will likely post a large decline for November.


Friday, Dec. 28, 10 a.m. EST -- Sales of existing homes are forecast to have slipped 1%, to an annual rate of 5.12 million, in November, from the October pace of 5.17 million. Through October, sales are at an annual rate of 5.25 million homes, better than the 5.12 million for all of 2000.


Friday, Dec. 28, 10 a.m. EST -- New single-family home sales in November probably slipped to an annual rate of 873,000, after an un expected increase, to 880,000 units, in October. Low interest rates have helped maintain strength in the housing market, but economists will be watching to see if the recent spike in mortgage rates has had an impact on home buying.


Friday, Dec. 28, 10 a.m. EST -- The Conference Board's consumer confidence index for December likely rose to 83.5, from 82.2 in November. The gain is expected to come from a rebound in consumers' present outlook.

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