Business Week Index: The Week Ahead

      Tuesday, June 13, 8:30 a.m. -- Retail sales probably rose 0.5% in May, says the 
      median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of the 
      McGraw-Hill Cos. That's suggested by the rebound in motor vehicles sales and 
      the positive reports from major retailers. In April, sales took an unexpected 
      drop of 0.4%, as purchases of durable goods fell 1.5%.
      Tuesday, June 13, 8:30 a.m. -- Consumer prices likely grew by 0.3% in May, 
      after increasing 0.4% in April. Transportation costs--from auto-financing 
      charges to airline tickets--were up strongly in March and April, but their 
      gains probably moderated in May. Excluding food and energy, May core prices are 
      also expected to rise 0.3%, after a 0.4% advance in April.
      Wednesday, June 14, 10 a.m. -- Inventories at manufacturers, wholesalers, and 
      retailers likely grew 0.7% in April, the same hefty increase as in March. 
      Factories and wholesalers have already reported large rises in their stock 
      levels. The expected increase suggests that businesses have not adjusted their 
      inventories to fall into better alignment with sales. Indeed, business sales 
      probably fell by 0.6% in April, after no change in March.
      Thursday, June 15, 9:15 a.m. -- Output at factories, mines, and utilities 
      probably fell another steep 0.4% in May, on top of a 0.3% drop in April. That's 
      suggested by the decline in factory jobs and overtime. Auto makers are leading 
      the cutbacks in spring production. Motor vehicle output alone fell 4.3% in 
      April. Given the output drop, the average capacity utilization rate for all 
      industry likely dipped to 83.7% in May, from 84.1%. With production dropping 
      off so fiercely, economists are predicting little growth in the second quarter. 
      The MMS survey shows a median forecast of only 1% growth in the real gross 
      domestic product in the second quarter.
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