The Week Ahead

HOUSING STARTS

Tuesday, Apr. 18, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Housing starts probably fell to an annual rate of 1.73 million in March, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Starts increased by 1.3% in February, to a 1.78 million pace. Even with the expected March decline, starts for the first quarter stood well above their average of the fourth quarter, suggesting that residential construction contributed significantly to last quarter's growth in real gross domestic product. The interest-sensitive housing sector will be the first to respond to tighter Federal Reserve policy.

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