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BUSINESS INVENTORIES Monday, July 15, 10 a.m.

Inventories at factories, wholesalers, and retailers likely fell by 0.5% in May, say economists polled by MMS International, a unit of McGraw-Hill Inc. Stockpiles also declined by 0.5% in April. Manufacturers have already reported cutting inventories by a steep 0.8% in May.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION Tuesday, July 16, 9:15 a.m.

Output at the nation's factories, mines, and utilities probably increased by 0.5% in June, the same healthy gain as in May. That's suggested by the rise in total hours worked in the factory sector last month. Even with the expected strong gain in June, output in the second quarter would be little changed from its level in the first quarter.

CAPACITY UTILIZATION Tuesday, July 16, 9:15 a.m.

The projected advance in output suggests that operating rates for the industrial sector rose to 79% in June, according to the MMS report. In May, 78.7% of capacity was used.

HOUSING STARTS Wednesday, July 17, 8:30 a.m.

The MMS consensus expects that housing starts stood at an annual rate of 1 million in June, a slight gain from the 982,000 pace of May. The dry weather in some regions increased building activity, even though new-home sales are beginning to show some weakening.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX Wednesday, July 17, 8:30 a.m.

Consumer prices likely rose by 0.3% in June, the same mild increase as in May. Prices excluding food and energy are expected to rise just 0.3% in June also, following a 0.2% increase in May.

MERCHANDISE TRADE DEFICIT Thursday, July 18, 8:30 a.m.

The foreign trade deficit probably narrowed to about $4 billion in May, say the MMS economists. Exports and imports are expected to post declines, after both increased strongly in April. That month, the trade deficit was $4.8 billion.

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