Business Week Index
THE WEEK AHEAD
Tuesday, May 21 -- Members of the Federal Reserve Board's Federal Open Market
Committee will meet to set monetary policy for the next six weeks. The federal
funds rate--the overnight borrowing rate for commercial banks--should remain at
5.25%, according to the unanimous forecast of economists surveyed by MMS
International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. The Fed last cut short-term
rates on Jan. 31, when it trimmed a quarter-point off the funds rate and cut
the discount rate to 5%, from 5.25%. In announcing the January easing, the Fed
said that a "moderating economic expansion in recent months has reduced
potential inflationary pressures."
Tuesday, May 21, 2 p.m.EDT -- The Treasury Dept. will likely report a surplus
of $65.5 billion in April, says the median MMS forecast. April is tax month for
Americans, so Washington always runs a surplus, but this April's sum exceeds
the $49.7 billion of a year ago. A delay in sending out tax refunds in early
1995 cut into last April's black ink. The expected surplus puts the fiscal 1996
deficit on track to total less than $150 billion, compared with $164 billion in
fiscal 1995, which ended in September.
Thursday, May 23, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- New filings for state jobless benefits likely
stood at 345,000 in the week ended May 18. That's a bit higher than the 336,000
filed in early May. Claims had jumped to more than 400,000 in the final weeks
of March because of the strike at General Motors Corp.
Friday, May 24, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- New orders taken by durable goods manufacturers
probably slipped by 0.2% in April, says the MMS report. Orders jumped 2.5% in
March, but most of that increase came from demand from the military--especially
for aircraft. That ordering is unlikely to be repeated anytime soon. The
backlog of unfilled orders rose 1.2% in March.