The Week Ahead


Tuesday, Jan. 19, 1 p.m. EST -- The National Association of Home Builders surveys its members for information on buyer traffic through model homes, current sales, and expected sales. The results are compiled into the Housing Market Index. For January, the index probably slipped to 75% from 78% in December. The record-high reading in December was helped by unseasonably warm weather.


Wednesday, Jan. 20, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Housing starts likely remained at an annual rate of 1.65 million in December, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. That's suggested by both the high level of the Housing Market Index and a rise in construction employment for December.


Wednesday, Jan. 20 -- Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will testify on the state of the economy before the House of Representatives' Ways & Means Committee. The appearance is tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m.


Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2 p.m. EST -- The Fed's Beige Book will describe regional economic activity as reported by the district banks. Fed watchers will be interested in any anecdotal evidence of price increases and whether last year's credit squeeze continued into 1999. The book is being prepared in advance of the policy meeting scheduled for Feb. 2 and 3.


Thursday, Jan. 21, 8:30 a.m. EST -- The S&P MMS forecast calls for the trade deficit in goods and services to have widened to $15 billion in November, from $14.2 billion in October. Exports, which had increased strongly for two months in a row, likely fell in November. Imports, up 2.2% in October, were probably little changed.

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