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The Week Ahead, Aug. 18-22

KEY EVENT: Winning streak. In June, Long Island's jobless rate was 4.9 percent, the first time in eight years local unemployment was under 5 percent for three straight months. The streak is on the line Tuesday, when the state Labor Department posts July unemployment rates for Nassau, Suffolk and Long Island as a whole.

MONDAY: The National Association of Home Builders posts the August housing market index.

TUESDAY: Consumer prices from the U.S. Labor Department and housing starts from the Commerce Department, both for July. Earnings: The Home Depot.

WEDNESDAY: The Federal Reserve releases the meeting minutes from its July conference. The minutes will get close scrutiny from Wall Street because at that meeting, there was a rare dissenting vote against the Fed's decision to maintain low interest rates "for a considerable time." Earnings: Lake Success natural foods maker Hain Celestial, Lowe's, Staples, Target.

THURSDAY: Jobless benefits claims for the week ended Aug. 16 from the U.S. Labor Department. Also, existing home sales from the National Association of Realtors and leading indicators from The Conference Board, both for July. Earnings: Dollar Tree, Gap, Ross Stores.

FRIDAY: Earnings from apparel retailer Ann Taylor.

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