The Week Ahead

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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