Business Week Index: The Week Ahead

      Tuesday, Jan. 24
      The U.S. Treasury will likely report a deficit of $4 billion for December, says 
      the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, a division of 
      McGraw-Hill Inc. Quarterly income tax payments are due in December, but the 
      government had to send out January Social Security payments early because Jan. 
      1 was the New Year's holiday. In December, 1993, Washington chalked up a 
      deficit of $7.7 billion. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently 
      projected that the federal deficit for fiscal 1995, which began in October, 
      will total $176 billion. In 1994, the government's deficit was $203.4 billion.
      Wednesday, Jan. 25, 9:45 a.m.
      Sales of existing homes likely fell to an annual rate of 3.76 million in 
      December. If so, that would be the fourth drop in five months. In November, 
      resales fell 2.6%, to 3.81 million.
      Thursday, Jan. 26, 8:30 a.m.
      The MMS median forecast is that new orders for durable goods in December were 
      little changed from their November level. In that month, increased bookings for 
      aircraft and motor vehicles led to a solid 3.4% gain in total new orders. 
      Unfilled orders probably dropped last month, after rising a small 0.6% in 
      Friday, Jan. 27, 8:30 a.m.
      Real GDP likely grew at an annual rate of 4.3% in the fourth quarter of 1994, 
      says the MMS report. Thanks to strong job and income growth, consumers 
      continued to increase their spending at a pace exceeding 4%. Business 
      investment in equipment and nonresidential construction also probably added to 
      growth at yearend. The fourth quarter would mark the third straight quarter 
      that the U.S. economy grew by 4% or more. In the third period, real GDP 
      expanded at a pace of 4%. Inflation, as measured by the GDP price deflator, is 
      expected at an annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter, about the same rate 
      as in the third quarter.
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