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Business Outlook


GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT Tuesday, Oct. 27, 8:30 a.m.

The economy likely grew at an annual rate of 1.6% in the third quarter, little changed from the 1.5% yearly pace in the second period, say economists polled by mms International, a unit of McGraw-Hill Inc. Increased consumer spending and a faster pace of inventory growth were likely offset by a worsening in the foreign trade position and a drop in business investment in new structures.

EMPLOYMENT COSTS Tuesday, Oct. 27, 8:30 a.m.

Compensation costs probably rose by 0.8% in the third quarter, the same small advance as in the second quarter. Wage growth has slowed in the past two years, but benefits--especially medical insurance--are still rising rapidly.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m.

The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence in October probably was little changed from its downbeat reading of 56.4 in September.

DURABLE GOODS ORDERS Wednesday, Oct. 28, 8:30 a.m.

New grders for durable goods likely rose by just 0.5% in September, say the mms economists. Orders had declined 0.1% in August. The small September gain suggests that unfilled orders fell for the 13th month in a row.

PERSONAL INCOME Wednesday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m.

The mms consensus expects that personal income rose by 0.4% in September, after dropping 0.5% in August. A bounce-back in rental income after Hurricane Andrew will account for most of the swing. Consumer spending, which fell by 0.1% in August, likely increased by 0.4% last month. That's suggested by the modest gain in retail sales.

SINGLE-FAMILY HOME SALES Friday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m.

New homes likely sold at an annual rate of 588,000 in September, up from 570,000 in August. The summer drop in mortgage rates is finally boosting the data.JAMES C. COOPER AND KATHLEEN MADIGAN

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