The Week Ahead

NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 8:30 a.m. EST -- Housing starts in January are forecast to have slipped to an annual rate of 1.78 million. That's based on the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Thursday, Feb. 20, 8:30 a.m. EST -- January producer prices probably climbed 0.3%. Minus food and energy, prices very likely rose 0.1%.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Thursday, Feb. 20, 8:30 a.m. EST -- The December foreign trade deficit very likely fell to $39 billion.

LEADING INDICATORS

Thursday, Feb. 20, 10 a.m. EST -- The Conference Board's January index of leading indicators probably rose 0.1% for a second straight month.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

Friday, Feb. 21, 8:30 a.m. EST -- January consumer prices for goods and services most likely grew 0.3%. Excluding food and energy, core inflation probably rose by 0.1%.

FEDERAL BUDGET

Friday, Feb. 21, 2 p.m. EST -- The federal government is expected to report a surplus of $29.5 billion for January, short of the $43.7 billion surplus posted in January, 2002. In December, the surplus stood at a small $4.4 billion.

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