The Week Ahead

Due to the prolonged Washington shutdown, all government release dates are 
      certain to be postponed.
      Tuesday, Jan. 2, 10 a.m. -- The National Association of Purchasing Management's 
      business activity index probably rose to 47.8% in December, according to the 
      median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The 
      McGraw-Hill Companies. That low reading suggests that the industrial sector was 
      struggling in December. For the previous four months, the NAPM index slid below 
      the 50% mark that signals a shrinking factory sector. The index was 46.5% in 
      Tuesday, Jan. 2, 10 a.m. -- The MMS survey expects that construction outlays 
      probably dropped by about 0.5% in November, after jumping 2.7% in October. 
      Following a surge in October, spending on public-works projects likely fell 
      back in November.
      Wednesday, Jan. 3, 10 a.m. -- New single-family homes probably sold at an 
      annual rate of 675,000 in November, little changed from the 673,000 sales rate 
      in October, says the MMS report. Home buying has declined for three consecutive 
      months, but lower mortgage rates in 1996 could stabilize home sales in the 
      first quarter.
      Thursday, Jan. 4, 10 a.m. -- Factory inventories probably grew by about 0.3% in 
      November, after a 0.4% gain in October. That's suggested by the small increase 
      in factory output for the month.
      Friday, Jan. 5, 8:30 a.m. -- The MMS median forecast calls for a gain of 
      125,000 new nonfarm jobs in December, less than the 166,000 added in November. 
      However, the survey also calls for manufacturing jobs to rise by 15,000, the 
      first increase since August. The unemployment rate probably stood at 5.6% last 
      month, unchanged from November's rate.

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