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The Week Ahead

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Monday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m. -- Inventories held by manufacturers, wholesalers,

and retailers are expected to show a 0.4% increase in July, according to the

median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of the

McGraw-Hill Cos. Stock levels had risen 0.2% in June. If the projection is on

the mark, inventories would begin the third quarter rising slightly less than

their average second-quarter pace, suggesting that businesses continue to rein

in their inventory growth.


Tuesday, Sept. 19, 8:30 a.m. -- Builders broke ground on new homes at an annual

rate of 1.38 million units in August, the same as in July, say the forecasters.

July starts had surged to the highest level of the year, as lower interest

rates boosted sales.


Wednesday, Sept. 20, 8:30 a.m. -- The trade deficit for goods and services is

expected to have narrowed a bit in July, to $10.9 billion, from $11.3 billion

in June, say the economists. If so, the trade gap would begin the third quarter

a shade below the second-quarter average, so trade may not be as big a drag on

economic growth as it was in the second quarter. July exports are expected to

have advanced, while imports apparently held steady.


Friday, Sept. 22 -- The federal budget for August is expected to have been in

deficit by $28 billion, up from August, 1994's red ink of $24.3 billion. The

deficit for the first 10 months of the fiscal year totaled $133.9 billion. The

August projection would bring the deficit's 12-month moving sum to $161.1

billion, suggesting that the budget gap is on target to hit the Congressional

Budget Office's latest projection of $161 billion. That would bring the deficit

down to 2.3% of gross domestic product, the lowest in relation to the size of

the economy since 1979. Improvement in the most recent years stems mainly from

increased receipts, reflecting the strength of the economy.

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