The Week Ahead

      Monday, Mar. 31, 8:30 a.m.EST  -- Personal income likely rose a strong 0.7% in 
      February, while consumer spending increased a solid 0.5%. Those are the median 
      forecasts of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill 
      Companies. In January, income rose 0.3% and spending gained 0.7%, but the 
      upward revision to the month's retail sales suggest that January spending will 
      be adjusted higher.
      Tuesday, Apr. 1, 10 a.m.EST  --  The National Association of Purchasing 
      Management's index likely edged up to 53.5% in March, from 53.1% in February, 
      says the MMS survey. Economists will look closely at the NAPM's component 
      covering vendor deliveries. If companies are stretching out the time in which 
      goods are shipped, it would indicate that price pressures are building.
      Tuesday, Apr. 1, 10 a.m.EST  -- The Conference Board's index of leading 
      indicators probably rose 0.4% in February, after rising 0.3% in January. The 
      index has not fallen since January, 1996.
      Tuesday, Apr. 1, 10 a.m.EST --  The MMS survey forecasts that building outlays 
      rose 0.7% in February, on top of a 0.4% advance in January. The February gain 
      is suggested by the 12.2% jump in housing starts.
      Wednesday, Apr. 2, 10 a.m.EST  --  Factory inventories were probably increased 
      0.2% in February, after rising just 0.1% in January.
      Friday, Apr. 4, 8:30 a.m.EST  -- The MMS median forecast expects that nonfarm 
      payrolls added 198,000 jobs in March, after 339,000 were created in February. 
      The unemployment rate was likely unchanged at 5.3%. Average hourly earnings are 
      expected to have risen 0.3% in March, after increasing 0.2% in February.

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