The Week Ahead


Thursday, May 11, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Retail sales probably increased by a modest 0.3% in April, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Excluding car buying, sales are also expected to rise 0.3%. In March, total store receipts grew 0.4%, but excluding cars, they shot up 1.4%. The question for economists is whether a more modest advance in April signals a lasting slowdown in consumer spending, or if the pause is only temporary.


Thursday, May 11, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- With oil prices receding, total import prices likely increased a small 0.1% in April, after a 0.3% rise in March and a huge 2% gain in February. Export prices likely rose 0.2% in April, on top of a 0.4% advance in March.


Friday, May 12, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Producer prices of finished goods probably declined 0.2% in April, led by a drop in oil prices. Excluding food and energy, prices probably edged up 0.1% last month. In March, total producer prices jumped 1%, while core prices rose 0.1%. While finished-goods inflation remains tame, price increases are accelerating for raw materials and supplies.


Friday, May 12, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Inventories held by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers probably increased 0.5% in March, the same solid gain posted in February, says the S&P MMS survey. Inventory accumulation in the first quarter was only about half what it was in the fourth quarter. Strong demand is preventing businesses from keeping much merchandise in stock.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.