The Week Ahead

RETAIL SALES

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Retail sales in July probably rose 1.0%. Excluding vehicles, sales probably grew by 0.4% in July. That's based on the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

FOMC MEETING

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 9 a.m. EDT -- The Federal Reserve Board's Open Market Committee meets to set monetary policy. Economists surveyed by S&P's MMS expect the Fed to leave the federal funds rate at 1.75% and maintain a neutral bias between signs of economic weakness and inflation.

BUSINESS INVENTORIES

Wednesday, Aug. 14, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Inventories are forecast to have grown by 0.1% in June.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

Thursday, Aug. 15, 9:15 a.m. EDT -- Factory output in July probably rose by a scant 0.1%, after a 0.8% surge in June. The average operating rate most likely slipped to 76%.

NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION

Friday, Aug. 16, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Housing starts most likely declined 1.8%, to an annual rate of 1.64 million units, in July.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

Friday, Aug. 16, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Consumer prices for goods and services are forecast to have increased 0.2% during July, following a 0.1% rise in June. Excluding the food and energy components, core inflation most likely grew by 0.2%, after inching up 0.1% in June.

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