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The Week Ahead


LEADING INDICATORS

Monday, May 19, 10 a.m. EDT -- The Conference Board's index of leading indicators for April is forecast to have improved by a small 0.1%, following two straight monthly declines, including a 0.2% fall in March. That's according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International.

FEDERAL BUDGET

Tuesday, May 20, 2 p.m. EDT -- The federal government will most likely report a $50 billion surplus in April, following a $58.7 billion deficit in March. So far federal receipts this tax-filing season have been the lowest since 1998. Last April, the surplus came in at $67.2 billion, after an average April surplus of $136.3 billion over the previous five years. The Congressional Budget Office recently revised its deficit estimate for the 2003 fiscal year, ending on Sept. 30, to over $300 billion, from $246 billion. The CBO cited weaker-than-expected revenues and increased spending.

INITIAL UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS

Thursday, May 22, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- New filings for state unemployment benefits probably reached 405,000 for the week ending May 17. Initial unemployment claims have been trending downward since the recent peak of 459,000 posted in mid-April.


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