The Week Ahead


Monday, Aug. 31, 10 a.m.EDT -- New single-family homes probably sold at an annual rate of 920,000 in July, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Homes sold at a record high pace of 935,000 in June.


Tuesday, Sept. 1, 10 a.m.EDT -- The National Association of Purchasing Management's business index probably edged up to 50.2% in August, from 49.1% in July. The end of the strike at General Motors Corp. pushed the index above the 50% mark that separates growth vs. contraction in the factory sector. However, the Asian-led drag in exports is hurting industrial activity outside of the auto sector.


Tuesday, Sept. 1, 10 a.m.EDT -- The Conference Board's composite index of leading indicators probably rose 0.2% in July, reversing its 0.2% slide in June.


Tuesday, Sept. 1, 10 a.m.EDT -- The S&P MMS survey forecasts that a 0.7% advance in building outlays occurred in July, on top of a 1.7% surge in June. The July gain is suggested by the large 5.7% increase in housing starts in July.


Wednesday, Sept. 2, 10 a.m.EDT -- Manufacturers likely decreased their inventories by at least 0.3% in July, after stock levels rose 0.2% in both May and June. The GM strike was responsible for a large part of the inventory drawdown.


Friday, Sept. 4, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Nonfarm payrolls likely soared by 350,000 in August, says the MMS forecast. About 140,000 of the gain reflects workers at GM and its suppliers heading back to work after the strike. The strike held job growth in July to just a 66,000 increase. The unemployment rate is expected to have stayed at 4.5% in August.