Business Week Index: The Week Ahead
RETAIL SALES 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%. CONSUMER PRICE INDEX 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. BUSINESS INVENTORIES 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. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION 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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