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Repeats Story Initially Transmitted at 21:06 GMT Apr 13/17:06 EST Apr 13
     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.                      
Retail and Food Sales for March (percent change)                        
 Monday, April 16 at 8:30 a.m. ET                        Actual:        
               Median         Range                  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
 Retail Sales   +0.3%     +0.3% to +0.4%                --  -0.1%  -0.1%
 Ex-Mtr Veh     +0.1%      Flat to +0.4%                --  +0.2%  +0.1%
     Comments: Retail sales are forecast to rise 0.3% in March after a  
after weak readings in the previous two months. Analysts expect the tax 
cuts enacted earlier in the year will start to filter into spending.    
Seasonally adjusted industry motor vehicle sales rose solidly in March, 
particularly for trucks, while AAA reported that gasoline prices        
declined modestly in mid-March from one month earlier. Retail sales are 
expected to rise only 0.1% excluding motor vehicles after February's    
0.2% gain.                                                              
Empire State Index for April (diffusion index)                          
 Monday, April 16 at 8:30 a.m. ET                        Actual:        
                 Median        Range                 Apr18  Mar18  Feb18
 Empire Index      18.5      18.0 to 20.3               --   22.5   13.1
     Comments: The Empire State index is expected to decline to a       
reading of 18.5 in April from 22.5 in March.                            
Business Inventories for February (percent change)                      
 Monday, April 16 at 10:00 a.m. ET                       Actual:        
              Median           Range                 Feb18  Jan18  Dec17
 Inventories   +0.6%       +0.4% to +0.6%               --  +0.6%  +0.6%
     Comments: Business inventories are expected to rise 0.6% in        
February. Factory inventories were already reported as up 0.3% in the   
month, while wholesale inventories rose 1.0%. The advance report showed 
a 0.4% gain for retail inventories. Taken together, an MNI calculation  
looks for a 0.6% increase for business inventories, so the median       
forecast suggests analysts see a no revision to retail inventories. As  
for sales, factory shipments rose 0.2%, wholesale sales rose 1.0% and   
the advance estimate for retail trade sales was a 0.1% decline,         
suggesting a 0.4% gain for business sales, assuming no revision to the  
retail trade sales decline.                                             
Housing Starts for March (annual rate, million)                         
 Tuesday, April 17 at 8:30 a.m. ET                        Actual:       
           Median            Range                   Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
 Starts    1.262m      1.230m to 1.290m                 -- 1.236m 1.329m
     Comments: The seasonally adjusted pace of housing starts is        
expected to accelerate modestly to a 1.262 million annual rate in March 
after sharp movements in the previous two months. The NAHB index slipped
to 70 in March from 71 in February, so there is some downside risk.     
Industrial Production for March (percent change)                        
 Tuesday, April 17 at 9:15 a.m. ET                        Actual:       
              Median          Range                  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
 Ind Prod      +0.3%      +0.1% to +0.7%                --  +0.9%  -0.2%
 Cap Util      77.9%      77.7% to 78.1%                --  77.7%  77.0%
     Comments: Industrial production is expected to rise 0.3% in March  
after a revised 0.9% surge in the previous month. Factory payrolls rose 
by 22,000 in March, while auto production jobs rose by 3,000 and the    
factory workweek was mildly shorter at 40.9 hours, down from 41.0 hours 
in February. The ISM production index fell to a still-strong 61.0 in the
current month from 62.0 in the previous month. Utilities production is  
expected to rebound in the month after a decline in the previous month  
due to warmer-than-usual weather, while mining production is forecast to
post a more modest gain after a February surge. Capacity utilization is 
forecast to rise to 77.9% from 77.7% in January. Annual revisions       
released on March 23 are included in the data.                          
Weekly Jobless Claims for April 14 week                                 
 Thursday, April 19 at 8:30 a.m. ET                       Actual:       
                 Median         Range                Apr14  Apr07  Mar31
 Weekly Claims     229k       228k to 230k              --   233k   242k
     Comments: The level of initial jobless claims is expected to fall  
by 4,000 to 229,000 in the April 14 employment survey week after a 9,000
decrease in the previous week. Claims were at a level of 227,000 in the 
March 17 employment survey week. The four-week moving average would rise
by 500 in the coming week, as that 227,000 level in the March 17 week   
drops out of the calculation, assuming the MNI forecast is correct and  
there are no revisions.                                                 
Philadelphia Federal Reserve Index for April (diffusion index)          
 Thursday, April 19 at 8:30 a.m. ET                      Actual:        
                 Median        Range                 Apr18  Mar18  Feb18
 Phila Fed         20.5      18.0 to 21.3               --   22.3   25.8
     Comments: The Philadelphia Fed reading is forecast to dip further  
to a reading of 20.5 in April after falling to 22.3 in the previous     
Leading Indicators for March (percent change)                           
 Thursday, April 19 at 10:00 a.m. ET                     Actual:        
                 Median         Range                Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
 Leading Index    +0.3%     +0.2% to +0.3%              --  +0.6%  +0.8%
     Comments: The index of leading indicators is forecast to rise by   
0.3% in February, continuing the string of solid gains. However, a      
shorter factory workweek, a decline in consumer expectations, and a drop
in the ISM new orders reading provide some downside risk.               
--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 202-371-2121; email: