The Week Ahead


Wednesday, Nov. 14, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Retail sales probably increased 1.5% in October, after tumbling 2.4% in September. That's according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. The projected gain in sales is due primarily to the tremendous incentives auto manufacturers enacted in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Excluding autos, sales were probably unchanged, after falling 1.6% in September.


Thursday, Nov. 15, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Inventories in September are forecast to have declined 0.2%, after falling 0.1% in August. Inventories have fallen for seven consecutive months, and the trend will likely hold as demand continues to rapidly deteriorate.


Friday, Nov. 16, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Consumer prices for goods and services are projected to have slipped 0.1% in October, after increasing 0.4% in September. Core prices, excluding the more volatile food and energy components, likely increased 0.1% in October, after a 0.2% rise in September. A slowing global economy and falling energy prices are keeping inflation low.


Friday, Nov. 16, 9:15 a.m. EST -- Factory output probably dropped 0.8% and capacity utilization likely sunk to 74.8% during October, based on the S&P MMS survey. In September, output fell 1.0%, and capacity utilization declined to 75.5%.

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