The Week Ahead

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE Tuesday, Aug. 25, 10 a.m.

The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence probably edged slightly higher in August, to a reading of 62.5, from July's dismal 61 level. That's the expectation of economists surveyed by mms International, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc. The index had tumbled 11.6 points in July, a decline blamed on rising unemployment in June, plus uncertainty amid the Presidential campaign.

DURABLE GOODS ORDERS Wednesday, Aug. 26, 8:30 a.m.

New orders taken by durable-goods producers likely rose by a small 0.5% in July, on top of a healthy 2.7% increase in June. Declining aircraft demand in July offset increases in other industries. The small expected gain in new orders in July suggests that unfilled orders continued their steep decline, already 10 months old.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (REVISION) Thursday, Aug. 27, 8:30 a.m.

The MMS economists expect that revisions to the data on the second-quarter economy will likely show that real gdp grew at a 1.6% annual rate last quarter, instead of the lackluster 1.4% originally reported. Higher inventory accumulation will account for most, if not all, of the increase. The economy had grown by a much faster 2.9% clip in the first quarter. The MMS survey also says that aftertax corporate profits probably increased by 4% in the second quarter, on top of a 10.8% advance in the first. Cost-cutting finally is helping the bottom lines of many companies.

PERSONAL INCOME Friday, Aug. 28, 10 a.m.

Personal income probably rose by just 0.3% in July, after no gain in June. Weak job growth is hampering a rebound in household earnings. Consumer spending, which increased by 0.5% in June, is projected to have risen by 0.4% last month. That's suggested by a modest increase in July retail sales. In addition, hot weather in July boosted consumer demand on utilities, a component of spending on services.

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