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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