The Week Ahead

EXISTING HOME SALES
      Monday, Jan. 27, 10 a.m.EST  -- Sales of existing homes probably slipped to an 
      annual rate of 4 million in December, from a 4.04 million pace in November. 
      That's the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of 
      The McGraw-Hill Companies.
      
      EMPLOYMENT COSTS
      Tuesday, Jan. 28, 8:30 a.m.EST  -- Total wages and benefits for civilian 
      workers likely increased by 0.8% in the fourth quarter from the third, says the 
      MMS survey. That's up from a 0.6% rise in the third quarter and would be 3.1% 
      above the year-ago level. The small acceleration is suggested by the pickup in 
      growth of average hourly wages reported by the Labor Dept. The growth in 
      benefits was probably unchanged, at a 0.6% quarterly gain.
      
      CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
      Tuesday, Jan. 28, 10 a.m.EST  -- The Conference Board's index of consumer 
      confidence probably slipped to 112 in January, after jumping more than four 
      points in December, to 113.8.
      
      DURABLE GOODS ORDERS
      Wednesday, Jan. 29, 8:30 a.m.EST  -- New orders for durable goods likely rose 
      0.8% in December, says the MMS forecast. Orders dropped 1.5% in November.
      
      REAL GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT
      Friday, Jan. 31, 8:30 a.m.EST  -- The MMS median forecast expects that the 
      economy grew at an annual rate of 3.3% in the fourth quarter, after a 2.1% rise 
      in the third. Consumer spending bounced back, and foreign trade added to 
      growth. In fact, a sharp narrowing in net exports could have boosted real GDP 
      growth to above 4% last quarter. Prices economywide likely rose at a 2.1% pace, 
      from 2% in the third quarter.
      
      NEW HOME SALES
      Friday, Jan. 31, 10 a.m.EST  -- New homes probably sold at an annual rate of 
      750,000 in December. That's down sharply from the 772,000 sold in November.
      
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