The Week Ahead


Tuesday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m. EST -- The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence probably slipped to a reading of 124 for October, from 126 in September, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. If so, then confidence has slipped for four months in a row. Global uncertainty, the stock market's gyrations, and political scandal are making households uneasy about the economy.


Wednesday, Oct. 28, 8:30 a.m. EST -- New orders for durable goods likely fell 0.5% in September. That would follow strong gains of 2% in July and 1.7% in August, as vehicle orders rebounded following the General Motors Corp. strike.


Thursday, Oct. 29, 8:30 a.m. EST -- The S&P MMS forecast calls for a 0.8% gain in third-quarter employment costs for civilian workers. That's a shade less than the 0.9% advance in the second quarter. For the year, the cost of wages and benefits would be up 3.4% in the third quarter, the same increase as in the second quarter.


Friday, Oct. 30, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Real gross domestic product probably grew at an annual rate of 2.2% in the third quarter, says the S&P MMS survey, slightly better than the 1.8% pace in the second. However, final demand likely slowed sharply last quarter, as the consumer, business, and government sectors all eased up on purchases. Foreign trade subtracted from GDP growth again. Inflation, as measured by the GDP price deflator, likely stood at an annual rate of 1.2% last quarter. Prices rose at a 0.9% pace in the second quarter.


Friday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m. EST -- New single-family homes probably sold at an annual rate of 845,000 in September, a gain from 838,000 in August.

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