The Week Ahead


Tuesday, Apr. 13, 8:30 a.m.

The Blizzard of '93 kept many shoppers at home in mid-March, so retail sales likely inched up by just 0.1% for the month. That's the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc. Sales rose 0.3% in February and 0.1% in January. Excluding cars, store receipts probably were unchanged in March, after jumping 0.9% in February.


Wednesday, Apr. 14, 10 a.m.

Inventories stored by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers likely rose by 0.1% in February, after no change in January. Manufacturers have already reported a 0.1% gain in their stock levels. Business sales probably rose by 1% in February, after falling 0.2% in January. That's suggested by increases in factory and retail sales.


Friday, Apr. 16, 8:30 a.m.

The foreign trade deficit probably totaled $7.4 billion in February, little changed from January's level. The MMS economists project that exports rose slightly, after dropping 6.7% in January. Imports also increased in February, after they fell by 4.8% in the preceding month. The foreign trade deficit is expected to widen slightly in 1993 for the second year in a row.


Friday, Apr. 16, 9:15 a.m.

Output at U.S. factories, mines, and utilities was probably flat in March. The steep decline in aggregate factory hours worked suggests that manufacturing output dropped last month, but that was offset by a weather-related surge in utility use. Production rose by 0.4% in February. Even with its poor showing in March, however, industrial output probably still grew by a respectable annual rate of 4.9% in the first quarter. The MMS survey shows that operating rates for all industry likely fell to 79.7% in March, from 79.9%. Capacity use remains low enough to keep inflation fears on the back burner.