The Week Ahead

      Wednesday, Mar. 13, 8:30 a.m.EST -- Retail buying probably rebounded by 0.5% in 
      February, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, 
      one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Sales fell 0.3% in January as the blizzard 
      cut into purchases of durable goods. Excluding autos, February sales likely 
      rose 0.5% after no change in January. The weekly surveys done by Mitsubishi 
      Bank/Schroder Wertheim and the Johnson Redbook Service show a rise in February 
      retail sales.
      Wednesday, Mar. 13 -- The Federal Reserve will release its roundup of business 
      activity as reported by its 12 district banks. The beige book is prepared in 
      advance of the Fed policy meetings. The next is scheduled for Mar. 26.
      Thursday, Mar. 14, 8:30 a.m.EST -- Prices of finished goods likely rose 0.2% in 
      February, on top of a 0.3% increase in January, says the MMS report. The 
      January gain reflected a 2.7% spike in energy prices. Excluding food and fuel, 
      the PPI fell 0.1% in January
      Friday, Mar. 15, 8:30 a.m.EST -- The MMS median forecast expects that consumer 
      prices of goods and services rose by 0.2% in February, after a 0.4% jump in 
      January. Energy prices rose, and apparel prices surged by 0.7% in January. But 
      given the intense competition within the apparel industry, that large a markup 
      is unlikely to hold.
      Friday, Mar. 15, 9:15 a.m.EST -- Output at the nation's factories, mines, and 
      utilities likely rebounded after the blizzard. That's suggested by BUSINESS 
      WEEK's weekly production index. The MMS median forecast calls for a 0.4% gain 
      in output last month, after output fell 0.6% in January. As a result, operating 
      rates likely picked up to 82.5%, from 81.9% in January.

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