Econ Edge: The Economic Week

Here is a look at this week's economic news calendar:

Monday, Jan. 30

    December Personal Income & Spending (8:30 a.m. ET)

    [Income expected: +0.4 percent / prior: +0.3 percent]

    [Spending expected: +0.8 percent / prior: +0.3 percent]

    U.S. consumer spending shot up a surprisingly strong 0.9 percent in December as shoppers, enjoying a respite from inflation, dipped into savings or tapped assets to make purchases, a government report showed Monday. The Commerce Department said its price index for consumer spending was flat for the month, with the core rate, which strips out food and energy, up just 0.1 percent. Analysts had expected the core index to rise 0.2 percent. The rise in spending, which beat forecasts for a 0.7 percent gain, outstripped the second straight monthly 0.4 percent increase in personal income.

    ExxonMobil Earnings (9:30a.m. ET)

    Exxon Mobil Corp. posted record profits for any U.S. company on Monday $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter and $36.13 billion for the year as the world's biggest publicly traded oil company benefited from high oil and natural-gas prices and solid demand for refined products. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations and Exxon shares rose more than 3 percent in afternoon trading.

    EIA Weekly Gas Price Survey (4:30 p.m. ET)

    The Energy Department reported the price of gasoline increased 2 cents last week. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded now stands at $2.36 -- the highest price since the week of Nov. 7, 2005. Prices are 23 percent above their levels from a year ago ($1.91).


    January Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (10 a.m. ET)

    [expected: 59.5 / prior: 61.5]

    The National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago said its business barometer eased to 58.5 in January from 60.8 in December. Economists had forecast the index at 59.8. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, and the index has been above that level for almost three years.

    Federal Reserve Interest Rate Decision (2:15 p.m .ET)

    [Rate at 4.25 percent / expect a 0.25 percent increase]

    Most economists expect an interest rate hike at this week's meeting of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee. If history is any guide, a key federal rate will tick up 0.25 percent, the 14th time that has happened since June 2004. This FOMC session is also the final Fed meeting of Greenspan's 18-year tenure as head of the nation's central bank.

    Senate vote to confirm Ben Bernanke as Fed Chair

    The Senate has confirmed Ben Bernanke as the 14th Chairman of the Federal Reserve. He takes the reins of the nation's central bank on Feb. 1.

    Bush State of the Union Speech

    Expect the economy to be a central theme in Bush's sixth-year State of the Union address. Will outgoing Fed Chair Alan Greenspan get the longest bipartisan ovation of the night? The smart money says so.

Wednesday, Feb. 1

    December Construction Spending (10 a.m. ET)

    [expected: +0.1 percent / prior: +0.2 percent]

    The U.S. Commerce Department showed construction spending rose 1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.161 trillion from an upwardly revised $1.149 trillion in November. Analysts had expected a rise of just 0.2 percent.

    January Institute of Supply Managers Index (10 a.m. ET)

    [expected: 58.0 / prior: 59.1]

    The Institute for Supply Management said its index of manufacturing activity fell to 54.8 in January, from December's 55.6 reading. The index has stayed above 50, a reading denoting expansion, for about three years. The new orders component -- a key indicator of future growth -- fell to 58.0 from 59.1, showing that orders were still coming in, but were growing at a slightly slower rate.

    EIA Weekly Petroleum Status Report (10:30 a.m. ET)

    In its weekly petroleum supply report, the Department of Energy said commercial inventories of crude oil climbed last week by 1.9 million barrels to 321 million barrels, or 11 percent above year ago levels. Gasoline inventories grew by 4.2 million barrels to 219 million barrels, or roughly equal to last year's level.

    January Auto Sales (5:00 p.m. ET)

    [expected: 13.1 million / prior: 13.5 million]

    U.S. Automakers reported January as their first "up-month" in sales since the blowout employee pricing sales of the summer. January's monthly sales pace was 17.6 million vehicles, up 3.5 percent from the average month last year.

    GM says that January sales were up 5.8 percent in January thanks to strong sales of cars. Full-size SUVs were a strong performer for the world's largest auto maker thanks to a redesigned Tahoe hitting the market last month.

    Ford saw sales increase by 2.7 percent, driven by a new line of mid-size sedans (the Fusion, Milan and Zephyr).

    DaimlerChrysler says its American brands saw a 4.9 percent jump in sales versus the year ago performance, also led by strong car sales (the Chrysler 300 was a real bright spot).

Thursday, Feb. 2

    Q4 Productivity (8:30am ET)

    [expected: +1.8 percent / prior: +4.7 percent]

    The Labor Department said productivity rose by 2.7 percent last year while labor costs rose by 2.4 percent, the biggest jump since a 4.2 percent increase in 2000. For just the final three months of the year, productivity actually fell by 0.6 percent, the first decline since early 2001, and labor costs rose by 2.4 percent.

Friday, Feb. 3

    January Jobs Report (8:30am ET)

    [expected: +245,000 jobs and 4.9 percent unemployment / prior: +108,000 jobs and 4.9 percent unemployment]

    American companies added 193,000 new workers to their payrolls last month according to a report from the Labor Department. This is lower than the expected 245,000, but the disappointment was offset by a surprising 0.2 percent dip in the nation's unemployment rate, which now stands at 4.7 percent, the lowest since July 2001. Economists were expecting the rate to remain steady.

    January ISM Services Index (10 a.m. ET)

    [expected: 59.1 / prior: 61.0]

    The Institute for Supply Management said Friday its index of nonmanufacturing activity fell to 56.8 from a revised reading of 61.0 in December. The new figure was lower than the 60 reading forecast by analysts. A reading of 50 and above points to a growing service sector, while a figure below that signals contraction. January marked the 34th consecutive month of growth for the service sector, ISM said.

    December Factory Orders (10 a.m. ET)

    [expected: +1.1 percent / prior: +2.5 percent]

    The government said orders to U.S. factories increased 1.1 percent in December, the third straight monthly rise. For all of 2005, factory orders rose 8.1 percent, following 9.7 percent gain the previous year.

Some information compiled from wire services.