The Week Ahead


Tuesday, Dec. 21, 8:30 a.m.

The Commerce Dept.'s first look at 1994 spending plans for new plants and equipment will probably show that businesses expect to increase capital budgets by about 7%, the same rise in outlays as for 1993. The need to improve productivity is pushing companies to spend heavily on equipment. Service companies will probably raise their spending by at least 10%, with the bulk of the money going for computers.


Tuesday, Dec. 21

The federal government will probably record a $39 billion deficit for November. That would be much worse than the $32.7 billion deficit posted in November, 1992. Economists, in general, though, expect that faster economic growth and the Clinton tax hikes will combine to push the federal deficit down to below $225 billion in fiscal 1994.


Thursday, Dec. 23, 8:30 a.m.

New orders taken by durable-goods manufacturers likely increased 1% in November, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc. Orders have already risen for three consecutive months, including a 2.6% gain in October. The string of increases suggests that the backlog of unfilled orders may also have risen in November, after falling for eight straight months.


Thursday, Dec. 23, 8:30 a.m.

Personal income likely rose 0.5% in November, forecast the MMS economists. That's suggested by the healthy gains in jobs and weekly pay last month. Consumer spending is also expected to post a 0.5% advance in November. Retail sales alone were up 0.4%, and cold weather probably lifted utility use. In October, personal income rose 0.6%, while consumer outlays increased a large 0.8%. The November projections indicate that both real income and spending are on track to grow at annual rates of near 4% in the fourth quarter.