The Week Ahead
DURABLE GOODS ORDERS Tuesday, Dec. 23, 8:30 a.m. EST -- New orders taken by durable-goods manufacturers likely increased by 0.5% in November, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Bookings slipped 0.1% in October, but the pace of orders stands well above year-ago levels. The expected rise in new orders indicates that the backlog of unfilled orders advanced for the fourth consecutive month. WEEKLY RETAIL SURVEYS Tuesday, Dec. 23 -- Two reports on holiday shopping for the last full week before Christmas will be released. The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi/Schroder Wertheim retail report is released in the morning, while LJR Redbook Research reports their findings in the afternoon. So far during this holiday season, both surveys have shown good gains in retail spending. PERSONAL INCOME Wednesday, Dec. 24, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Personal income probably increased a strong 0.7% in November, says the MMS survey. That follows a solid 0.5% gain in October and is suggested by the surprisingly robust gains in jobs and weekly pay last month. Consumer spending likely increased 0.4% in November, on top of a 0.5% rise in October. Although retail sales were weak last month, the unit sales of motor vehicles posted a large increase. Consumer spending looks on track to rise at about a 3% annual rate in the fourth quarter, after the 5.8% surge of the third. UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS Wednesday, Dec. 24, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Initial filings for state unemployment benefits likely stood at a 310,000 pace for the week ended Dec. 20, about the same number of claims filed in the week of Dec. 6. After the four-week moving average dipped below the 300,000 mark in August, jobless claims have been trending higher in the fall. In the first week of December, the moving average totaled 318,300.
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