This Week: Consumer prices, UnitedHealth earns, retail sales

Oct 10, 2021, 10:10 PM | Updated: 10:16 pm

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week:

EYE ON INFLATION

The Labor Department serves up its September reading of inflation at the consumer level Wednesday.

Americans continue to face higher costs, reflected in sharp annual increases in the consumer price index going back to April. In August, the index showed a year-over-year inflation rate of 5.3%, down from 5.4% in July and June, the strongest 12-month price gains since 2008. Economists predict the consumer price index’s annual increase held steady last month.

Consumer price index, annual percent change, not seasonally adjusted:

April 4.2

May 5.0

June 5.4

July 5.4

Aug. 5.3

Sept. (est.) 5.3

Source: FactSet

IN GOOD HEALTH

UnitedHealth Group delivers its third-quarter results Thursday.

Wall Street expects the country’s largest health insurer will report that its earnings and revenue increased in the July-September quarter from a year earlier. In July, the company boosted its full-year outlook for a second time this year after a surprisingly strong second quarter despite sustained, elevated spending tied to the pandemic.

SIZING UP RETAIL SALES

Economists predict American shoppers’ appetite for spending held steady last month.

The Commerce Department is expected to report Friday that U.S. retail sales were unchanged in September from the previous month. Sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in August, getting a boost from back-to-school shopping as children headed back to the classroom and perhaps for the first time in more than a year, bought new clothing and other supplies.

Retail sales, monthly percent change, seasonally adjusted:

April 0.9

May -1.4

June 0.9

July -1.8

Aug. 0.7

Sept. (est.) 0.0

Source: FactSet

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This Week: Consumer prices, UnitedHealth earns, retail sales