The Week Ahead
PERSONAL INCOME Monday, Dec. 23, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Personal income likely increased a solid 0.6% in November after no change in October, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. The MMS survey also projects that consumer spending rose 0.3% in November on top of a 0.5% gain in October. Retail sales fell 0.4% in November, but most of that decline came in the dollar amount of sales at car dealers. The Commerce Dept., however, uses unit sales of cars and light trucks in compiling its spending figures, and unit sales rose in November. In addition, the month's unusually cold weather pushed up energy use. DURABLE GOODS ORDERS Friday, Dec. 27, 8:30 a.m. EST -- New orders taken by durable goods manufacturers likely edged up 0.3% in November, the same gain posted in October, says the MMS survey. An increase is suggested by a rise in the orders index of the National Association of Purchasing Management as well as a big jump in the production of durable goods in November. LEADING INDICATORS Friday, Dec. 27, 8:30 a.m.EST -- The Conference Board's index of leading indicators probably rose 0.1% in November, says the MMS survey. If so, that would be the 10th consecutive increase. The uptrend suggests that the economic expansion will continue through all of 1997. UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS Friday, Dec. 27, 8:30 a.m.EST -- Initial jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 21 will probably total about 325,000, not much different from the 317,000 filed in early December. Because of Christmas, the Labor Dept. will report the jobless-claims data one day later than normal. EXISTING-HOME SALES Friday, Dec. 27, 10 a.m.EST -- Existing homes likely sold at an annual rate of 4 million in November, slightly better than October's 3.97 million pace.
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