Economic agenda: Wednesday, March 16, 2011

At 8:30 a.m. — The Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for February. This should show how much the rise in fuel prices is affecting businesses as they buy raw materials. Analysts expect the PPI to have risen 0.7 percent in February, but the increase would have amounted to only 0.2 percent excluding food and energy.

At 8:30 a.m. — Housing starts data for February are released. The data should give a read on the continued weakness in the residential sector. Forecasters are expecting that the number of homes started fell 4.4 percent last month, after a sharp January rise. The number of permits is forecast to have edged up 1.2 percent.

At 8:30 a.m. — The Commerce Department releases current account deficit numbers.

At 10 a.m. — The Senate commerce committee holds a hearing on the state of online consumer privacy.

At 10 a.m. — Elizabeth Warren, special adviser to the secretary of the Treasury for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, testifies before a House Financial Services subcommittee about “Oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

At 2 p.m. — A House financial services subcommittee holds a hearing on legislative proposals to promote job creation.

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