Here is a look at this week's economic news calendar:
The Energy Department says that retail gasoline prices have risen to their highest level since the week of Oct. 05, 2005. According to the results of today's survey, the national average price of a gallon of gasoline went up 10 cents to $2.78. The price is 24 percent above the retail price from the year-age average price of $2.24.
For all you procrastinators -- you know who you are -- it's time to boot up TurboTax or run out to H&R Block to get those taxes done. The IRS said it expects to receive 135 million returns this year, 48 million of which will be filed between April 7 and April 17. About 87 percent of returns processed so far have received refunds, which average $2,290, according to IRS figures. KEEP IN MIND: Washington, D.C., Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont have a deadline of April 18 for filing, thanks to Patriots Day (the shot heard around the world), making this a bit of an odd tax year thanks to the traditional deadline falling on a Saturday.
[expected: 2.045 million / prior: 2.120 million]
The Commerce Department said that new home starts dropped by 7.8 percent during March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.96 million units. This is significantly below market expectation of a slimmer drop to 2.045 million units. Local governments saw builders asking for building permits at a rate 5.5 percent below the previous month.
[expected: +0.4 percent / prior: -1.4 percent]
The Labor Department's monthly read of prices at the wholesale level -- called the Producer Price Index -- shows that prices increased by 0.5 percent during March. That's near the consensus estimate of economists (+0.4 percent), and it's the largest upward move in three months. The increasing prices were driven largely by a jump in the price of gasoline (+9.1 percent in one month) and other energy products (+1.8 percent). Excluding volatile food and energy prices -- called the core rate -- shows that prices increased by a more modest 0.1 percent.
Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee minutes that suggest that those quarter-point interest rate hikes might soon come to an end. "Most members thought that the end of the tightening process was likely to be near, and some expressed concerns about the dangers of tightening too much, given the lags in the effects of policy," reads a paragraph near the end of the nine page document.
[expected: +0.4 percent / prior: +0.1 percent]
U.S. core inflation rose at its fastest rate in a year in March on higher clothing and housing costs, a government report showed Wednesday, trimming market expectations for a quick end to Federal Reserve interest-rate rises. The Labor Department said the core Consumer Price Index, which excludes food and energy prices, advanced 0.3 percent, a bit more than forecast. Energy prices helped push the overall index up a steep 0.4 percent, matching Wall Street projections.
Some information compiled from wire services.