The Week Ahead

RETAIL SALES

Tuesday, Mar. 13, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Retail sales likely grew 0.4% in February, says the median forecast of economists polled by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Excluding auto sales, buying likely grew 0.2%. In January, total sales rose 0.7%, while nonauto receipts rose 0.8%.

BUSINESS INVENTORIES

Wednesday, Mar. 14, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Inventories likely increased 0.3% in January, after growing 0.1% in December.

EXPORT-IMPORT PRICES

Thursday, Mar. 15, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Export prices in February are expected to have increased by 0.1%, while import prices likely held steady.

CURRENT ACCOUNT

Thursday, Mar. 15, 10 a.m. EST -- The U.S. current account deficit probably widened to about $118 billion in the fourth quarter, from $113.8 billion in the third.

HOUSING STARTS

Friday, Mar. 16, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Housing starts in February probably fell to an annual rate of 1.58 million, from 1.65 million in January.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

Friday, Mar. 16, 9:15 a.m. EST -- Factory output in February likely fell 0.2%. The average operating rate likely fell from 80.2%, to 79.9%.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Friday, Mar. 16, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Producer prices of finished goods likely rose 0.1% in February. Core prices, which exclude food and energy, likely grew by a similar 0.1%.

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