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The Week Ahead

Figures of the Week

The Week Ahead


Tuesday, July 20, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- The U.S. trade deficit of goods and services for May probably totaled $19 billion, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. That would be little changed from the $18.9 billion deficit posted in April. However, the expected May gap would mean that the trade deficit in the second quarter is on track to be much bigger than the first-quarter total. A wider trade deficit subtracts from real gross domestic product growth. The S&P MMS survey expects that exports edged up slightly, following a 1.2% advance in April. May imports, already up for four months in a row, probably rose at a faster pace than exports, lifted in part by higher prices for petroleum products.HOUSING STARTS

Wednesday, July 21, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Housing starts probably slipped to an annual rate of 1.65 million in June, says the S&P MMS survey. In May, starts jumped 6.3%, to a 1.68 million rate, but that gain followed three monthly drops. As a result, home construction was probably a drag on economic growth in the second quarter. However, housing has benefited from solid gains in jobs and incomes as well as near-record-high consumer confidence. The industry should do well over the summer, despite higher mortgage rates this year than in 1998.FEDERAL BUDGET

Thursday, July 22, 2 p.m.EDT -- The S&P MMS median forecast expects that the U.S. Treasury will report a budget surplus of $57 billion in June when quarterly taxes are paid. That would be larger than the $51.1 billion windfall posted in June of 1998.

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