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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.         
Housing Starts for February (annual rate, million) 
 Tuesday, March 26 at 8:30 a.m. ET                         Actual:        
           Median            Range                   Feb19  Jan19  Dec18
 Starts    1.205m      1.130m to 1.330m                --  1.230m 1.037m 
     Comments: The pace of housing starts is expected to slow to a 1.205 
million pace in February after rebounding sharply in January. Unadjusted 
starts were down nearly 10% from a year earlier in January, a further 
sign that home building has stagnated. 
Conference Board Consumer Confidence for March (index)
 Tuesday, March 26 at 10:00 a.m. ET                      Actual:        
               Median         Range                  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
 Confidence     133.0    129.0 to 136.5                 --  131.4  121.7
     Comments: The index of consumer confidence is expected to advance 
further to a reading of 133.0 in March after rebounding to 131.4 in 
February after the resolution of the government shutdown. The 
preliminary Michigan Sentiment index rose to 97.8 in early-March from 
93.8 in the previous month. 
Trade in Goods and Services for January (deficit, billion $)           
 Wednesday, March 27 at 8:30 a.m. ET                   Actual:        
               Median         Range                Jan19   Dec18   Nov18
 Trade Gap    -$57.5b  -$60.6b to -$55.0b             -- -$59.8b -$50.3b
     Comments: The international trade gap is expected to narrow 
slightly to a still large $57.5 billion in January after a sharp 
widening to $59.8 billion in December, still suggesting a large drag for 
Q1 from net exports. There were no advance trade data released this 
Weekly Jobless Claims for March 23 week                                
 Thursday, March 28 at 8:30 a.m. ET                       Actual:       
               Median         Range                  Mar23  Mar16  Mar09
 Weekly Claims  223k      215k to 225k                  --   221k   230k
     Comments: The level of initial jobless claims is expected to 
rebound by 2,000 to 223,000 in the March 23 week after a decrease of 
9,000 in the previous week. Annual revisions will be included in this 
week's data. The four-week moving average would fall by only 750 this 
week as the 226,000 level in the February 23 rolls out of the 
calculation, but annual revisions would alter that projection. 
GDP for Fourth Quarter (revised estimate)
 Thursday, March 28 at 8:30 a.m. ET                      Actual:        
               Median         Range                  4Q18r  4Q18i   3Q18
 GDP           +2.3%     +1.8% to +2.6%                 --  +2.6%  +3.4% 
 Chain Prices  +1.8%     +1.8% to +1.8%                 --  +1.8%  +1.8%
     Comments: Analysts expect fourth quarter GDP to be revised down to 
a 2.3% rate of growth from the 2.6% initial estimate, keeping it below 
the 3.4% pace in the third quarter, but ahead of some estimates for the 
first quarter. The chain price index is expected to be unrevised at a 
1.8% rate in the initial estimate and final third quarter reading. 
Personal Income for February (percent change)                          
 Friday, March 29 at 8:30 a.m. ET                         Actual:        
               Median         Range                  Feb19  Jan19  Dec18
 Income         +0.3%    -0.1% to +0.4%                --  -0.1%  +1.0% 
 Spending (Jan) +0.3%    +0.2% to +0.4%                --     --  -0.5%
 Core Prices(Jan)+0.2%   +0.1% to +0.2%                --     --  +0.2%
     Comments: Personal income is expected to rebound by 0.3% in 
February despite a drastic slowdown in employment growth and shorter 
workweek that was offset by a 0.4% increase in hourly earnings. This 
follows a 0.1% decline in January. Due to the after-effects of the 
shutdown, only January PCE data will be reported due to a lack of Census 
data and it is expected to rise by 0.3% due to rebound in retail sales. 
Core PCE prices are seen up 0.2% in January, keeping the year/year rate 
at 1.9%. 
MNI Chicago Report for March (index)                                 
 Friday, March 29 at 9:45 a.m. ET                       Actual:        
               Median         Range                  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
 MNI Chicago     61.0     59.0 to 64.0                  --   64.7   56.7
     Comments: The MNI Chicago PMI is expected to pull back to a still 
brisk reading of 61.0 in March after a solid gain to 64.7 in February. 
Other regional data already released have been mixed, with the Empire 
State index down and the Philadelphia Fed index up. 
New Home Sales for February (annual rate)
 Friday, March 29 at 10:00 a.m. ET                       Actual:        
               Median         Range                 Feb19  Jan19  Dec18
 New Homes       616k     600k to 650k                 --   607k   652k 
     Comments: The pace of new home sales is expected to partially 
rebound to a 616,000 annual rate in February after pulling back in 
January. The pace of sales remains below their year ago level. 
University of Michigan Survey for March (final)          
 Friday, March 29 at 10:00 a.m. ET                       Actual:
                Median        Range                 Mar19f Mar19p  Feb19
 Consumer Sent    97.8    97.0 to 98.0                  --   97.8   93.8
     Comments: The Michigan Sentiment index is expected to be unrevised 
at a reading of 97.8 in March. This would keep the index well above the 
93.8 reading in February.
--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 (973) 494-2611; email:

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