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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