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Preview / SEPT. 13-19

Investors Await Data on Consumer Prices, Sales

September 13, 2004|From Associated Press and Reuters; From Associated Press and Bloomberg News

Investors will be looking to consumer spending in the coming week on Wall Street, as the government releases figures on consumer prices and retail sales and major retailers release earnings reports.

With a report on retail sales due Tuesday and the government's consumer price index coming out Thursday, investors will be able to see whether spending has increased after a sluggish summer and whether consumer prices have suffered.

Earnings from electronics retailers Best Buy Co. and Circuit City Stores Inc., along with Kroger Co., which owns Ralphs supermarkets, also will provide insight into spending, a significant element of the nation's economy.

Other economic reports due this week include data on industrial production and capacity utilization -- important readings on goods produced and overall business efficiency.

Technology bellwether Oracle Corp. and brokerage firm A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. also are expected to report their profits.

The economic and earnings reports come as the Federal Reserve prepares to meet Sept. 21 to decide whether to raise the nation's benchmark interest rate, currently at 1.5%. An increase of a quarter percentage point is considered likely.

A number of economic indicators, including non-auto retail sales, consumer prices and consumer sentiment reports, also will be watched closely.

The effect of fuel costs on corporations and consumers remains a concern. Investors will wait anxiously for word on crude oil prices from a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday.

"Investors have gotten used to the fact that oil is going to be rather expensive for a while," said Michael Metz, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer & Co.

From Associated Press and Reuters

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This Week's Datebook

Today

* Treasury bill auction.

* Two Food and Drug Administration advisory panels meet today and Tuesday to discuss possible links between the use of antidepressants and suicidal tendencies in children.

* Campbell Soup Co. and CKE Restaurants Inc. release quarterly earnings.

Tuesday

* Commerce Department reports on retail sales for August and on the current account for the second quarter.

* Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

* Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing on mandatory retirement.

* House Financial Services subcommittee hearing on improving competition among credit rating agencies.

* Kroger Co. and Oracle Corp. release quarterly earnings.

Wednesday

* Commerce Department reports on business inventories for July.

* Federal Reserve reports on industrial production for August.

* OPEC oil ministers meet to review output levels and consider raising the range of prices they want to see oil selling for on global markets.

* Best Buy Co. releases quarterly earnings.

Thursday

* Labor Department reports on consumer price index for August and on weekly jobless claims.

* Freddie Mac reports on mortgage rates.

* Federal Reserve Gov. Edward M. Gramlich speaks about oil prices and monetary policy at the Kansas City Fed.

Friday

* University of Michigan releases its consumer sentiment index forecast for September.

* Circuit City Stores Inc. releases quarterly earnings.

From Associated Press and Bloomberg News

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