The Week Ahead

      Wednesday, Mar. 25, 8:30 a.m. EST -- New orders taken by durable goods 
      manufacturers likely increased by 0.7% in February, says the median forecast of 
      economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. 
      Orders had risen 1.6% in January, but that followed a 5.3% plunge in December, 
      caused mostly by falling demand for aircraft. The increase in new orders 
      suggests that the backlog of unfilled orders also rose.
      Wednesday, Mar. 25, 10 a.m. EST -- Existing homes probably sold at an annual 
      rate of 4.44 million in February, the same high rate as in January. If so, home 
      resales in the first quarter are running well above the sales rate of the 
      fourth quarter, suggesting that household purchases of furniture, electronics, 
      and textiles will increase in coming months. Unseasonably mild weather in parts 
      of the country, coupled with low mortgage rates, buoyed home buying.
      Thursday, Mar. 26, 8:30 a.m. EST -- New filings for state unemployment benefits 
      likely stood at 320,000 in the week ended Mar. 21. Claims slipped below the 
      300,000 mark in the first week of March, to the lowest level since July, 1997. 
      The jobless rate dipped to a 24-year low of 4.6% in February, and the drop in 
      claims suggests that labor markets tightened further in March.
      Friday, Mar. 27, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Personal income likely increased another 0.5% 
      in February, on top of the 0.6% gain posted in January. That's indicated by the 
      strong advance in jobs and wages for the month. Consumer spending likely rose 
      0.5% in February. In addition, the revision to January retail sales, from a 
      0.1% increase to a 1% jump, suggests that the 0.4% gain in January consumer 
      spending will also be revised higher. Real consumer spending is on track to 
      grow at an annual rate of about 5% in the first quarter.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.