In the wake of a stronger-than-expected U.S. February employment report, investors will be keeping an eye out for more proof of economic strength next week.

Given higher federal taxes and gasoline prices, as well as the ongoing political antics in Washington, many believe U.S. retail sales figures will be key in gauging whether consumption is cracking.

Monetary-policy meetings in Norway and Switzerland are not likely to result in any policy changes, while euro-zone employment and industrial-production data probably will present a soft tone.

In the U.K., the first official output data for 2013 look set to paint a poor picture by showing little change in industrial production or the trade deficit.

In Japan, economic data will presumably continue to take a back seat. The government’s quarterly Business Outlook Survey (released on Tuesday) is running along similar lines as the Bank of Japan’s more closely watched Tankan (due April 1). It would be a surprise if the first-quarter numbers were to fail turning positive. Finally, consumer confidence (Tuesday) likely rose further in February, according to Julian Jessop, chief economist for London-based Capital Economics.

Elsewhere, there are policy-rate meetings scheduled next week in New Zealand (Wednesday), as well as Korea and the Philippines (both Thursday). Economists expect all three central banks to stay in wait-and-see mode. On the data front, India will release its wholesale price data for February (Thursday).

Below are entries on the economic calendar March 11-15. All listed times are EDT.


No significant releases or events in the U.S.


Euro zone -- European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio speaks on "The New Pan European Regulatory Architecture” in London.

Spain -- Budget, year-to-date.

Germany -- January trade balance.

France -- January industrial production.

Italy -- Fourth-quarter gross domestic product, final reading.

Cyprus -- 4Q GDP, final reading.

Greece -- 4Q GDP, final reading.

Portugal -- 4Q GDP, final reading.

Japan -- February corporate-goods price index.

Japan -- January index of tertiary industry activity.


7:30 a.m. -- The National Federation of Independent Business small business optimism index for February.

2 p.m. -- Economists look for a narrowing in the budget deficit to $205.0 billion in February, after a deficit of $231.7 billion for the same period last year. This would bring the deficit to $495 billion for the first five months of the fiscal year.


Serbia -- Repo rate.

Germany -- February final consumer price index, harmonized index of consumer prices.

Italy -- February final CPI, HICP.

U.K. -- January industrial-production and manufacturing output.


7 a.m. -- The Mortgage Bankers Association's, or MBA's, mortgage-applications indexes for the week ended March 8.

8:30 a.m. -- Retail sales likely rose by 0.5 percent in February, with a rise in sales of gasoline, a modest pickup in auto sales, and a 0.2 percent gain in core retail prices. The extent to which spending is impinged by the increase in taxes at the beginning of the year will be key to assessing the likely strength of GDP growth in the first quarter. Indications have been encouraging to date, with a small rise in core retail sales and personal spending measures in January and another pickup in unit auto sales in February.

8:30 a.m. -- Economists are looking for a 0.5 percent month-over-month gain in import prices in February, with a likely rise in petroleum prices alongside a smaller gain in ex-petroleum prices.

10 a.m. -- Business inventories probably rose by 0.4 percent in January, after increasing by 0.1 percent in the prior month.


New Zealand -- Reserve Bank of New Zealand official cash rate.

France -- February final CPI, HICP.

Euro zone -- January industrial production.


8:30 a.m. -- Economists see initial jobless claims at 350,000 in the week ending March 9, up from 340,000 in the prior week.

8:30 a.m. -- The current account deficit was probably broadly stable in the fourth quarter, showing a print of $112.6 billion for the last three months of 2012 following a deficit of $107.5 billion in the third quarter.

8:30 a.m. -- Boosted by higher gasoline prices, the producer price index is forecast to show a monthly increase of 0.7 percent in February. Stripping out energy and food costs, the core PPI probably climbed by 0.2 percent for a second straight month. If on the mark, these projections would place both the overall and core PPIs 1.7 percentage points above their respective year-ago levels.

9 a.m. -- Federal Reserve Board Gov. Sarah Bloom Raskin (a Federal Open Market Committee voter) gives welcome remarks before the NeighborWorks 35th Anniversary Symposium in Washington.


European Union -- EU Summit in Brussels (to March 15).

Korea -- South Korea seven-day repo rate.

Philippines -- Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, or BSP, policy rate.

Switzerland -- Interest-rate announcement.

Euro zone -- ECB publishes monthly bulletin.

Norway -- Interest-rate announcement.

Chile -- Overnight-rate target.


8:30 a.m. -- The leap in gasoline prices will have been the main factor behind a 0.5 percent monthly increase in consumer prices in February. Beyond energy prices, however, there are few signs of significant inflationary pressure. Gasoline prices may soon start to fall. A 0.2 percent monthly rise would leave the annual rate of core inflation at 2 percent, although the headline rate probably rose to 1.9 percent from 1.6 percent.

8:30 a.m. -- The soft global economy probably limited manufacturing growth in the New York region in March. Economists have penciled in a reading of 10.0 for the Empire State manufacturing index, compared with February’s 11.0.    

9:15 a.m. -- Economists are looking for 0.4 percent growth in industrial production and manufacturing output in February. Timely indicators have generally been encouraging, with an increase in the Institute for Supply Management's relevant index in February and modest gains in manufacturing employment and hours worked in recent months.

9:30 a.m. -- Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher (an FOMC nonvoter this year) speaks on "Too Big To Fail" before the CPAC 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md.

9:55 a.m. -- It seems likely that the latest rally in equity prices will boost consumer confidence in March, but the steady increase in gasoline prices may have limited the size of any pickup in confidence. Economists look for a small rise to 78.0 in the University of Michigan’s preliminary March survey after a final February print of 77.6.


Italy -- First parliament meeting.

Russia -- Overnight deposit rate and overnight repo rate.

Brazil -- January economic-activity index.

Euro zone -- February HICP, final reading.

Euro zone -- 4Q labor-cost and employment rate.

Argentina -- 4Q GDP.

Sources: Central banks, European Commission, Reuters, Market News, Capital Economics, Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Nomura, Societe Generale.