The Week Ahead

      Tuesday, Apr. 15, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Consumer prices of goods and services 
      probably increased a small 0.2% in March, says the median forecast of 
      economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. 
      Prices rose 0.3% in February. Excluding food and energy, the core consumer 
      price index was likely up 0.3% in March, on top of a 0.2% gain in February.
      Tuesday, Apr. 15, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Inventories held by manufacturers, 
      wholesalers, and retailers likely increased 0.3% in February. Factories already 
      have reported a 0.4% gain in their stock levels, but the sharp increase in 
      consumer demand last quarter suggests that retail inventories were drawn down 
      in February. In January, business inventories were up just 0.1%.
      Wednesday, Apr. 16, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The MMS survey projects that housing starts 
      slipped to an annual rate of 1.46 million in March, after surging 12.2% in 
      February, to a 1.53 million pace.
      Wednesday, Apr. 16, 9:15 a.m.EDT -- Output at factories, mines, and utilities 
      probably increased 0.5% in March, the same solid increase posted in February, 
      says the MMS report. The March advance is suggested by the increase in hours 
      worked in the factory sector. Consequently, the average operating rate for all 
      industry likely edged up to 83.5% in March, from 83.3% in February.
      Thursday, Apr. 17, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The trade deficit for goods and services 
      probably narrowed to $11 billion in February, after jumping to $12.7 billion in 
      January. Exports probably increased slightly after falling for two consecutive 
      months. And imports likely fell after advancing 2.2% in January. The 
      foreign-trade sector of the economy probably subtracted heavily from growth in 
      the first quarter.
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