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US Data: Highlights of MNI Survey of Economic Forecasts

Repeats Story Initially Transmitted at 20:06 GMT Dec 18/15:06 EST Dec 18
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following are highlights of forecasts for   
upcoming U.S. economic indicators provided by participants in the MNI   
weekly survey. The comment section presents the key elements behind the 
median forecasts.      
Housing Starts for November (annual rate, million)                      
 Tuesday, December 19 at 8:30 a.m. ET                    Actual:        
           Median            Range                   Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
 Starts    1.250m       1.200m to 1.337m                -- 1.290m 1.135m
     Comments: The seasonally adjusted pace of housing starts is        
expected to slow to a 1.250 million annual rate in November after a     
sharp increase in October. The NAHB index rose further in November, a   
positive for the housing starts data.                                   
Existing-home Sales for November (annual rate)                          
 Wednesday, December 20 at 10:00 a.m. ET                 Actual:        
                 Median         Range                Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
 Home Resales     5.51m     5.40m to 5.72m              --  5.48m  5.37m
     Comments: The pace of existing home sales is expected to accelerate
further to a 5.51 million annual rate in November after a small uptick  
in October. Pending home sales surged in October, but were still down   
modestly from a year earlier. Supply fell by 3.2% in October and remains
sharply lower from a year earlier, an indication that the supply        
shortage continues.                                                     
Weekly Jobless Claims for December 16 week                              
 Thursday, December 21 at 8:30 a.m. ET                   Actual:        
                 Median         Range                Dec16  Dec09  Dec02
 Weekly Claims     235k     230k to 240k                --   225k   236k
     Comments: The level of initial jobless claims is expected to       
rebound by 10,000 to 235,000 in the December 16 employment survey week  
after a decrease of 11,000 in the previous week that pulled down the    
four-week average by 6,750. Claims were at a level of 240,000 in the    
November 18 employment survey week. The four-week moving average would  
fall by 1,250 in the coming week as that 240,000 level in the November  
18 week drops out of the calculation, assuming the MNI forecast is      
correct and there are no revisions.                                     
GDP for Third Quarter (third estimate)                                  
 Thursday, December 21 at 8:30 a.m. ET                   Actual:        
               Median         Range                   3Q17t  3Q17s  2Q17
 GDP            +3.3%     +3.2% to +3.6%                 --  +3.3% +3.1%
 Chain Prices   +2.1%     +2.1% to +2.1%                 --  +2.1% +1.0%
     Comments: Third quarter GDP is expected to be revised unrevised at 
a 3.3% rate of growth, while the chain price index is expected to be    
unrevised at a 2.1% pace, suggesting analysts have changed their focus  
to the fourth quarter when growth is expected to be a bit stronger.     
Philadelphia Federal Reserve Index for December (diffusion index)       
 Thursday, December 21 at 8:30 a.m. ET                   Actual:        
             Median         Range                    Dec17  Nov17  Oct17
 Phila Fed     22.0     20.0 to 24.7                    --   22.7   27.9
     Comments: The Philadelphia Fed index is forecast to fall further to
a reading of 22.0 in December following a decline in November to 22.7.  
The Empire State index fell modestly to 18.0 from 19.4 in November      
Leading Indicators for November (percent change)                        
 Thursday, December 21 at 10:00 a.m. ET                    Actual:      
                 Median          Range               Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
 Leading Index    +0.4%      +0.3% to +0.4%             --  +1.2%  +0.1%
     Comments: The index of leading indicators is forecast to rise by   
0.4% in November. Positive contributions are expected from ISM new      
orders, stock prices, and consumer expectations.                        
Durable Goods Orders for November (percent change)                      
 Friday, December 22 at 8:30 a.m. ET                     Actual:        
               Median        Range                   Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
 New Orders     +2.3%    +1.2% to +4.0%                 --  -0.8%  +2.4%
 Ex-Transport   +0.6%    +0.3% to +2.0%                 --  +0.9%  +1.3%
     Comments: Durable goods orders are expected to rebound by 2.3% in  
November after a revised 0.8% decline in October. Boeing orders rose to 
159 from 64 in October, suggesting nondefense aircraft orders could rise
sharply. Orders excluding transportation are expected to post a more    
modest 0.6% gain after a 0.9% rise in October.                          
Personal Income for November (percent change)                           
 Friday, December 22 at 8:30 a.m. ET                     Actual:        
               Median         Range                  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
 Income         +0.4%     +0.4% to +0.5%                --  +0.4%  +0.4%
 Spending       +0.4%     +0.3% to +0.6%                --  +0.3%  +0.9%
 Core Prices    +0.1%     +0.1% to +0.1%                --  +0.2%  +0.2%
     Comments: Personal income is expected to rise by 0.4% in November, 
as payrolls increased by 228,000, average weekly hours rose to 34.5     
hours, and hourly earnings were up 0.2%. Current dollar PCE is forecast 
to rise 0.4%, as retail sales surged by 0.8% in the month and were up   
1.0% excluding a 0.2% decline in motor vehicle sales. Core retail sales 
(also ex. gas) were up 0.8% in the month, as were sales excluding autos,
gas, building materials and food services, indicating underlying        
underlying sales strength. The core PCE price index is expected to post 
a 0.1% increase in November following 0.2% gains in the previous two    
months, keeping the  year/year rate should remain well below the 2%     
threshold.                                                              
New Home Sales for November (annual rate)                               
 Friday, December 22 at 10:00 a.m. ET                     Actual:       
               Median         Range                  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
 New Homes       658k      638k to 705k                 --   685k   645k
     Comments: New home sales are expected to slow to a 658,000 annual  
rate in November following sharp gains in the previous two months.      
Unadjusted sales were up 19.6% from a year earlier before seasonal      
adjustment. Home supply rose in October, though not enough to keep up   
with sales growth, so the months supply dipped to 4.9 months. Even so,  
there should be adequate homes available for sale when demand returns.  
University of Michigan Survey for December (final)                      
 Friday, December 22 at 10:00 a.m. ET                     Actual:       
                Median           Range              Dec17f Dec17p  Nov17
 Consumer Sent    97.0       96.5 to 97.5               --   96.8   98.5
     Comments: The Michigan Sentiment index is expected to be revised up
to a reading of 97.0 in December from 96.8 in the preliminary estimate, 
but it would remain below the 98.5 reading in November.                 
--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 202-371-2121; email: holly.stokes@marketnews.com

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