The Week Ahead

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Consumer prices for goods and services likely rose 0.2% in January. That is the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, the core index is also projected to increase by 0.2%.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 8:30 a.m. EST -- The December trade deficit for goods and services is expected to have narrowed to $32.5 billion, from $33 billion in November. December exports are expected to grow by 0.7% and imports by 0.3%, based on the S&P MMS survey. As the U.S. economy cools and demand for imported goods slows, the trade gap could further narrow.

FEDERAL BUDGET

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2:00 p.m. EST -- The U.S. Treasury will likely report a surplus of $62.2 billion for January. If so, the anticipated amount would be the same as January, 2000, and would be one of the largest monthly surpluses on record.

LEADING INDICATORS

Thursday, Feb. 22, 10 a.m. EST -- The Conference Board's composite index of leading indicators probably was unchanged in January, according to the S&P MMS survey. In December, the index fell 0.6% as manufacturing conditions worsened, and consumer confidence plunged. The December decline was the seventh drop in eight months.

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