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Economic calendar, Week of Nov. 15-19

By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com
Monday, November 15, 2010
Posted: 9 am ET

This week's economic calendar has plenty of stuff. For mortgage rates, the most important item on this week's calendar comes Wednesday, when the Consumer Price Index for October is released.

According to Briefing.com, the consensus prediction is that overall the index rose 0.3 percent, and core CPI rose 0.1 percent. If core inflation is much higher than that, we might see a rise in mortgage rates.

A bigger-than-expected increase in the index might happen. This morning, the Department of Commerce reported that overall retail sales were up 1.2 percent in October, led by a surge in auto sales. Excluding autos, retail sales were up 0.4 percent, which was the consensus prediction.

A jump in auto sales implies that consumers feel confident that they'll keep their jobs. At some point, increased sales are likely to bring higher prices. When that happens, mortgage rates will go up, too.

The increase in auto sales might have been spurred by automakers' price discipline. From what I can tell, they're reluctant to raise car prices. The Volkswagen Jetta's advertising campaign is all about holding the line on prices. So the rise in auto sales might not translate into an increase in the index.

Another important item on this week's economic calendar comes Wednesday morning, with the report on housing starts and building permits.

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