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     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.                 
Weekly Jobless Claims for March 17 week                                 
 Thursday, March 22 at 8:30 a.m. ET                       Actual:       
                 Median         Range                Mar17  Mar10  Mar03
 Weekly Claims     226k       220k to 230k              --   226k   230k
     Comments: The level of initial jobless claims is expected to again 
come in at 226,000 in the March 17 employment survey week after a 4,000 
decline in the previous week. Claims were at a level of 220,000 in the  
February 17 employment survey week. The four-week moving average would  
rise by 1,500 in the coming week, as that 220,000 level drops out of the
calculation, assuming the MNI forecast is correct and there are no      
Leading Indicators for February (percent change)                        
 Thursday, March 22 at 10:00 a.m. ET                     Actual:        
                 Median         Range                Feb18  Jan18  Dec17
 Leading Index    +0.6%     +0.3% to +0.7%              --  +1.0%  +0.6%
     Comments: The index of leading indicators is forecast to rise by   
0.6% in February, maintaining the string of solid gains. Positive       
contributions are expected from factory hours worked, lower jobless     
claims, and higher consumer confidence. These were offset by negative   
contributions from lower stock prices and softer building permits.      
Durable Goods Orders for February (percent change)                      
 Friday, March 23 at 8:30 a.m. ET                        Actual:        
               Median        Range                   Feb18  Jan18  Dec17
 New Orders     +1.7%     +1.0% to +3.5%                --  -3.6%  +2.7%
 Ex-Transport   +0.6%     +0.3% to +1.7%                --  -0.3%  +0.8%
     Comments: Durable goods orders are expected to rise by 1.7% in     
February after a 3.6% decline in January. Boeing orders were roughly    
unchanged, rising to only 30 from 28 in January, suggesting nondefense  
aircraft orders could level off after a January plunge. Orders excluding
transportation are expected to post a 0.6% increase after a 0.3% decline
in January.                                                             
New Home Sales for February (annual rate)                               
 Friday, March 23 at 10:00 a.m. ET                       Actual:        
               Median         Range                  Feb18  Jan18  Dec17
 New Homes       620k     585k to 640k                  --   593k   643k
     Comments: New home sales are expected to rebound to a 620,000      
annual rate in February following a further decline in January.         
Unadjusted sales were down 2.2% from a year earlier. Home supply was    
modestly rose further in January, so the months supply rose to 6.1      
months from 5.5 months in December.                                             
--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 202-371-2121; email:
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