The Week Ahead
CONSTRUCTION SPENDING Monday, Jan. 5, 10 a.m. EST -- Spending on construction projects was likely unchanged in November, after a small 0.1% gain in October. That's the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Housing increased slightly, offsetting some weakness in the public-works sector. FACTORY INVENTORIES Tuesday, Jan. 6, 10 a.m. EST -- Manufacturing stock levels probably increased by 0.4% in November, the same advance posted in October. The buildup is suggested by the 1% jump in factory output in November. Inventories remain lean when compared to sales, and businesses are trying to bulk up their stockpiles just to keep up with the current pace of demand. NEW HOME SALES Wednesday, Jan. 7, 10 a.m. EST -- New homes likely sold at an annual rate of 800,000 in November. In October, sales slipped by 1.7%, to a 797,000 pace. Thanks to strong income growth, home-buying enjoyed one of its strongest years in 1997. INSTALLMENT CREDIT Wednesday, Jan. 7, 3 p.m. EST -- Consumers probably added about $5 billion in new debt in November, led by a jump in auto lending. In October, consumers took on an unexpectedly large $10.7 billion in new installment credit. PRODUCER PRICE INDEX Thursday, Jan. 8, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Producer prices of finished goods were likely unchanged in December, after falling 0.2% in November. Excluding food and energy, prices probably fell 0.1%, the same drop posted in November. EMPLOYMENT Friday, Jan. 9, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Nonfarm payrolls likely rose by 200,000 in December. That follows November's surge of 404,000, which was twice the expected number. The jobless rate likely remained at 4.6%.
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