Key economic events for the week of Feb. 11

February 10, 2013

Last week’s economic data painted an optimistic picture of the nation’s growth even as new polls indicated that most Americans saw little to cheer about.

Major retailers reported strong gains in sales, despite a cut in Americans’ paychecks.

The Commerce Department’s latest trade figures suggested the nation’s growth during the last quarter of 2012 was stronger than initial estimates.

This week, new retail data should offer insights into how consumers are feeling about the economy.

Tuesday

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) releases its small-business optimism index for January at 7:30 a.m. Analysts expect the figure to climb a notch, to 89.5.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) index for December is released at 10 a.m. The index provides a more nuanced view of job openings in the country compared with unemployment figures.

Wednesday

Advance retail sales numbers are released at 8:30 a.m. Forecasters expect an increase of 0.1 percent in January. While retailers had a strong start to the year, this data should provide more detail on consumers’ willingness to spend money after the payroll tax increase kicked in.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its monthly import price index for January. After a slight drop in December, analysts predict an increase of 0.8 percent this time around. Business inventory figures for December also come out Wednesday morning and are projected to stay flat.

Thursday

Weekly jobless claims are out at 8:30 a.m. Forecasters expect the number to fall to 360,000 from last week’s 366,000.

Friday

The world’s finance ministers and central bank heads converge in Moscow for a two-day Group of 20 meeting. The discussion is likely to center on the developed world’s loose monetary policy and how that affects international trade.

Finally, Americans’ online shopping patterns will be revealed as the Commerce Department releases e-commerce sales figures for the fourth quarter of 2012.

—Amrita Jayakumar

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