The Week Ahead

      Wednesday, Oct. 16, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Consumer prices probably increased 0.3% in 
      September, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS 
      International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Food prices, up 0.4% in 
      August, likely rose again last month as crop shortages work their way through 
      to retail prices. Excluding food and energy, core prices also are expected to 
      have risen by 0.3%. In August, both the total CPI and core index edged up 0.1%.
      Thursday, Oct. 17, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Housing starts probably fell to an annual 
      rate of 1.47 million in September. Housing remains strong, despite the year's 
      rise of more than one percentage point in fixed mortgage rates. In August, 
      starts unexpectedly increased by 4.5%, to a 1.53 million pace.
      Thursday, Oct. 17, 9:15 a.m.EDT -- Output at the nation's factories, mines, and 
      utilities probably increased a slim 0.1% in September, after rising 0.5% in 
      August. That gain, though, reflected a bounceback in utility use after a 
      cooler-than-normal July. Although manufacturing jobs plunged 57,000 in 
      September, the workweek rose and overtime remained high. That suggests a small 
      gain in factory output. Operating rates likely fell to 83.3%, from 83.5% in 
      Thursday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m.EDT -- Business inventories likely grew by 0.3% in 
      August, says the MMS survey. That's down from a 0.4% rise in July. Factories 
      have already reported a 0.3% gain in their stock levels. Business sales likely 
      increased about 0.2% in August, after jumping 1.2% in July.
      Friday, Oct. 18, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The trade deficit for goods and services 
      probably narrowed to $9.8 billion, after widening sharply in July to $11.7 
      billion from June's $8.2 billion. Exports, which fell 3.6% in July, probably 
      rebounded in August, and imports, up 1.3%, likely fell.

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