Wall Street to Examine Flood of Economic Data

From Reuters

Wall Street faces a flood of economic data this week, and the search will be on for further signs that the economy is beginning to pull out of its slump.

Retail sales data are due Tuesday from the Commerce Department, which is expected to report December retail sales rose a mere 1.2% overall and excluding automobiles, a gain of 0.2%. Last week, the nation's top chain stores set the dismal pace by reporting a collective 1% rise in December sales.

Prices paid to factories, farmers and other producers are expected to have risen 0.3% in December after decreasing 0.4% in November, according to economists' forecasts for the Commerce Department's producer price index due Wednesday.

On Thursday, the consumer price index will be released and is expected to show an increase of 0.2% in December after a 0.1% gain in November.

Investors also will be looking out Wednesday for the Federal Reserve's "beige book" report, the central bank's anecdotal take on the U.S. economy.

November industrial production, due Friday, will be key as investors search for signs of life in the manufacturing sector. Industrial production is expected to rise 0.3%, while capacity utilization is projected at 75.8% for the month.

The University of Michigan's preliminary reading on consumer sentiment for January also is set for Friday release. The forecast calls for it to hold steady at 86.7.

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