The Week Ahead


Monday, Nov. 19, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Housing starts in October are forecast to decline to an annual rate of 1.52 million, after a better-than-expected pace of 1.57 million in September. That's based on the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. So far, housing has shown few signs of weakening.


Tuesday, Nov. 20, 8:30 a.m. EST -- The trade deficit probably narrowed to $25.3 billion in September, from $27.1 billion in August. The September 11 attacks likely caused a record drop in imports, due to border and port interruptions and large claims payments by foreign reinsurers.


Tuesday, Nov. 20, 10 a.m. EST -- The Conference Board's October composite index of leading economic indicators probably slipped 0.2%. In September, the index declined 0.5%, the largest drop since 1996.


Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2:00 p.m. EST -- The U.S. Treasury will likely report an October deficit of $14 billion, compared with a deficit of $11.3 billion in October, 2000, and a surplus of $35.4 billion in September. For fiscal year 2001, which ended Sept. 30, the U.S. Treasury ended with a surplus of $127.2 billion. Excluding Social Security, however, it ran a deficit of $33.5 billion. Fiscal 2002 will likely parallel 2001, due to more tax cuts and large amounts of economic stimulus spending.

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