The Week Ahead
RETAIL SALES Monday, Jan. 29, 8:30 a.m. -- Retail sales probably rose 0.6% in December, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Most of the strength will be in autos. Excluding vehicles, sales likely were up a mere 0.2%, helped by higher gasoline prices. In November, total sales rose 0.8%; excluding cars, they rose 0.9%. FOMC MEETING Tuesday, Jan. 30 -- The Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee will meet to set monetary policy. The MMS forecast is that the federal funds rate will remain at 5.5%. The meeting will continue into Jan. 31. CONSUMER CONFIDENCE Tuesday, Jan. 30, 10 a.m. -- The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence was probably little changed in January from its reading of 98.7 in December. FEDERAL BUDGET Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2 p.m. -- The government likely had a deficit of about $5 billion in December, vs. $4.8 billion a year ago. PRODUCER PRICE INDEX Wednesday, Jan. 31, 8:30 a.m. -- Producer prices of finished goods likely increased by 0.4% in December, led by rising gasoline and natural gas prices. The PPI rose 0.5% in November. CONSUMER PRICE INDEX Thursday, Feb. 1, 8:30 a.m. -- Consumer prices likely rose 0.3% in December, after no change in November. As with producer prices, higher energy costs led the runup. NAPM SURVEY Thursday, Feb. 1, 10 a.m. -- The National Association of Purchasing Management's index likely fell to 45% in blizzard-impaired January, from 46% in December. EMPLOYMENT Friday, Feb. 2, 8:30 a.m. -- The MMS forecast calls for a job gain of 125,000 in January, after a rise of 151,000 in December. The jobless rate likely remained at 5.6%.
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