Business Week Index: The Week Ahead

      Tuesday, Feb. 14, 8:30 a.m.  January retail sales are expected to show a slim 
      0.1% gain, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS 
      International, a unit of McGraw-Hill Inc., mainly reflecting weaker-looking 
      auto sales caused by a change in Detroit's reporting dates. Nonauto sales 
      should be up a stronger 0.7%.
      Wednesday, Feb. 15, 8:30 a.m.  The January CPI will show a 0.2% increase, say 
      the economists, the same as in December. The core index, which excludes energy 
      and food will also be up 0.2%, after the previous month's 0.1% rise.
      Wednesday, Feb. 15, 9:15 a.m.  January industrial output at the nation's 
      factories, utilities, and mines is expected to post a 0.4% increase, says the 
      survey, following December's 1% gain. Capacity utilization will edge up a tenth 
      of a point, to 85.5%, from December's 15-year high.
      Wednesday, Feb. 15, 10 a.m.  December inventories in manufacturing, 
      wholesaling, and retailing most likely increased by 0.5%, say the forecasters, 
      following November's 0.7% gain. Stock levels have risen sharply in recent 
      months, but overall sales have been sturdy as well.
      Thursday, Feb. 16, 8:30 a.m.  Despite January's unusually mild weather, higher 
      mortgage rates are expected to take a toll on the month's housing starts. The 
      economists look for starts to fall by 4.3%, after December's 1% drop. Sales of 
      new homes are softening, and based on current sales rates, the one-month supply 
      of unsold homes stood near a four-year high in December.
      Friday, Feb. 17, 8:30 a.m. The economists project that December's trade deficit 
      for goods and services will narrow slightly to $10.4 billion, after having 
      widened to $10.5 billion in November.
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