The Week Ahead
RETAIL SALES Wednesday, Oct. 15, 8:30 p.m. EDT -- Retail sales are expected to have risen 0.2% in September, based on the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. August sales rose 0.4%. Excluding autos, buying is projected to have increased 0.3% after climbing 0.3% in August. September sales appear to have slowed from the rapid summer pace, but supports under spending remain solid. CONSUMER PRICE INDEX Thursday, Oct. 16, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Consumer prices are expected to have increased by 0.3% in September, based on the MMS survey results, after rising 0.2% in August. Higher energy prices are expected to have pushed the index up. Excluding energy and food, the core index also is projected to have climbed 0.3%, reflecting higher tobacco and car prices. BUSINESS INVENTORIES Thursday, Oct. 16, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Inventories held by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers are expected to have risen by 0.3% in August, says the MMS poll, following a 0.2% increase in July. Stockpiles had grown much faster in the second quarter, and a slower rate of buildup in the third quarter will cut into the quarter's economic growth. HOUSING STARTS Friday, Oct. 17, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Housing starts in September are projected to have risen substantially, to an annual rate of 1.42 million, based on the MMS survey. Sales had dropped 4.8% in August, to 1.36 million, but new-home sales, mortgage applications, and builders' optimism remain high. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION Friday, Oct. 17, 9:15 a.m. EDT -- The MMS poll expects industrial production to post a 0.3% increase in September, less than August's 0.7% gain. Capacity utilization is projected to have held steady at the August rate of 83.9%. The slower pace is suggested by sluggishness in hours worked.
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