The Week Ahead

FACTORY INVENTORIES

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 10 a.m. EST -- Manufacturing inventories probably fell 0.8% in December, after a 0.9% reduction in November. That's indicated by the drop in factory output.

PURCHASING MANAGERS' INDEX

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 10 a.m. EST -- The Institute for Supply Management's index of nonmanufacturing activity likely rose to 55 in January, from 54.2 in December. The gain suggests that the service sector is turning around more quickly than manufacturing.

PRODUCTIVITY & COSTS

Wednesday, Feb. 6, 8 a.m. EST -- Output per hour worked during the fourth quarter is projected to have risen at an annual rate of 1.3%, while unit labor costs are forecast to have grown by 2.5%. That's according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. During the third quarter, productivity rose 1.5%, while unit labor costs increased 2.3%. Productivity is proving resilient during this recession.

INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Thursday, Feb. 7, 3 p.m. EST -- Consumers likely piled up an additional $9.5 billion of debt in December, after a record increase of $19.8 billion during November. A fourth-quarter surge in vehicle sales prompted by auto makers' 0% financing offers pushed non-revolving debt up by $14.4 billion in November on top of the $14.7 billion borrowed in October. Revolving credit --consisting primarily of credit-card debt--rose $5.4 billion in November, the largest increase since April, 2001.

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