The Week Ahead


Tuesday, Jan. 21, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Housing starts during December are forecast to have slipped by 1.2%, to an annual rate of 1.68 million. That's according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International. In November, construction rebounded to a pace of 1.7 million homes.


Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2 p.m. EST -- The federal government is expected to report a surplus of $10 billion for December, far short of the $26.6 billion surplus posted during the same month in 2001. In November, the deficit was $59.1 billion. While President George W. Bush's new stimulus package will likely be altered in Congress, early forecasts show the fiscal year 2003 deficit could hit $300 billion. The Congressional Budget Office will issue new projections for the current fiscal year at the end of January.


Thursday, Jan. 23, 8:30 a.m. EST -- New filings for state unemployment insurance most likely totaled about 400,000 for the week ended Jan. 18. Claims fell back to 389,000 over the first week of January. Recent claims data have been volatile because of difficulty in adjusting for seasonal variations, a trend that could continue through the end of January.


Thursday, Jan. 23, 10 a.m. EST -- The Conference Board's index of leading indicators probably held steady in December, following a significant 0.7% jump in November.

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