Businesses likely increased inventories by a small amount in January, responding to a strong gain in their sales.
Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect inventories at the
wholesale level rose by 0.2 percent in January with sales rising by a
stronger 0.7 percent. The Commerce Department will release the new
report at 10 a.m. EST Wednesday.
Stirring memories of his campaign for the White House, President Barack
Obama made a spirited, shirt-sleeved appeal for passage of long-stalled
health care changes Monday as Democratic congressional leaders worked
behind the scenes on legislation they hope can quickly gain passage.
Legislation extending unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless
faces a key test vote in the Senate, its momentum helped by about 60
popular tax breaks for individuals and businesses that expired at the
end of last year.
U.S. consumers are starting to look like a frugal, debt-fearing lot as
they pay down billions of dollars in credit-card obligations. But an
alarming trend is emerging: A small but growing number of people are
skipping mortgage payments in favor of paying their credit-card bills.
Hispanic and black businesses are receiving a disproportionately small
number of federal stimulus contracts, creating a rising chorus of
demands for the Obama administration to be more inclusive and more
closely track who receives government-financed work.
Two subsidiaries of American International Group Inc. have agreed to
pay $7.1 million to settle discrimination allegations of charging
higher fees to African American borrowers, the Justice Department
The unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent in February as employers shed
36,000 jobs, fewer than expected. The figures suggested the job market
is slowly healing but that significant hiring has yet to occur.