THE WEEK AHEAD
Monday, July 6
New domestically made cars probably sold at an annual rate of 6.5 million for the last 10 selling days of June, say economists surveyed by MMS International, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc. The expected pace would put car sales at 6.5 million for the entire month. Car sales have been gathering strength, with 6.3 million new autos sold in May, up from 6 million in April. The expected June rate would be the highest since July, 1991.
Tuesday, July 7
The MMS consensus is that consumers pared their debt levels by an additional $500 million in May. If so, that would be the fourth consecutive decline, including a $3.8 billion drop in April. Auto loans likely fell as consumers continue to switch to leasing, instead of buying, cars. And sluggish retail sales suggest consumers left their credit cards at home in May. Some installment credit has been replaced by the increased use of home equity loans. But in general, households are borrowing less.
INITIAL UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
Thursday, July 9, 8:30 a.m.
New claims for state unemployment-insurance benefits probably stood at an annual rate of 410,000 for the week ended June 27. That would be less than the 422,000 filed during the week of June 13. Jobless claims have been falling steadily since the first quarter, but the weekly data have yet to fall below 400,000.
PRODUCER PRICE INDEX
Friday, July 10, 8:30 a.m.
Producer prices mf finished goods probably increased by 0.3% in June, project the MMS economists. That's suggested by an increase in fuel prices. Even so, inflation at the producer level is little threat to this economy. Prices rose 0.4% in May but were up only 1.2% from a year earlier. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, prices likely advanced by 0.2% in June, following a 0.6% increase in May. A rise in tobacco prices led that gain. Nonfood, nonfuel prices have risen 2.8% over the past year.