BUSINESS INVENTORIES Monday, July 17, 10 a.m. -- Inventories held by manufacturers, wholesalers, andretailers probably increased by 0.5% in May, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Manufacturers have alreadyreported a 0.6% gain in May stock levels, but wholesale inventories were nearly unchanged for the month. Inventoriesrose by 0.8% in April, and a slower accumulation in inventories is expected to have been a drag on economic growth in the second quarter. Business sales likelyrose by 0.4% in May,reversing a 0.4% fall in April. Factory shipments andretail salesrebounded in May. INTERNATIONAL TRADE Tuesday, July 18, 8:30 a.m. -- The foreign trade deficit likely narrowed a bit in May, falling to $10.2 billion from April's startling $11.4 billion, the biggest since the Commerce Dept. began tracking trade in both goods and services 3 1/2 years ago. The MMS economists expect that exports, which fell 1.3% in April,rebounded in May, led by increased aircraft exports. At the same time, imports, up 1% in April, saw little change. Still, after adjusting for prices, the small improvement in the May trade deficit suggests that the net-exports sector of thereal gross domestic product subtracted from second-quarter growth. That is after net exports stole almost one-percentage point from GDP growth in the first quarter. HOUSING STARTS Wednesday, July 19, 8:30 a.m. -- The MMS survey forecasts that housing starts increased to an annualrate of 1.29 million in June. That would be the highest level since February. In May, homebuilding dropped by 1.3%, with single-family starts slipping to a two-year low. The Junerebound is suggested by the 19.9% jump in May sales of new single-family homes, which helped to clear out some of the supply of unsold units held by builders. However, homebuilding will probably have little upward momentum for therest of 1995.
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