Business Week Index: The Week Ahead

      Tuesday, May 16, 8:30 a.m. -- Housing starts probably rebounded a bit in April, 
      to an annual rate of 1.28 million, according to the median forecast of 
      economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. A 
      drop in fixed mortgage rates temporarily boosted home buying. The April rise 
      would be the first increase in homebuilding since December. In March, starts 
      plunged a surprising 7.9%, to a 1.21 million pace.
      Tuesday, May 16, 9:15 a.m. -- Output at the nation's mines, utilities, and 
      factories probably dropped 0.4% in April, after slipping 0.3% in March. That 
      would be the first back-to-back decline in two years. The April drop is 
      indicated by the fall in factory jobs and work time, especially overtime. Auto 
      makers probably led the cutbacks in manufacturing output, but the weakness was 
      widespread. Operating rates likely also slipped lower last month. The MMS 
      forecast expects that the capacity utilization rate fell to 84.3% in April, 
      from 84.9%.
      Thursday, May 18, 8:30 a.m. -- The trade deficit for goods and services was 
      probably little changed in March, from February's $9 billion. The MMS 
      economists expect little change in either exports, which rose 2.4% in February, 
      or imports, down 2% in February. However, because foreign-made goods accounted 
      for some of the inventory buildup in the first quarter, imports may have fallen 
      in March. That would mean some narrowing in the trade deficit.
      Friday, May 19 -- The U.S. Treasury is expected to report a surplus of $38 
      billion for April. That's more than double the $17.5 billion surplus reported 
      in April, 1994. Stronger income growth last year boosted individual tax 
      payments due by Apr. 17, and the second installment of the 1993 tax hike on the 
      wealthy was expected to bring in an additional $4.2 billion.
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