Business Week Index: The Week Ahead

BUSINESS INVENTORIES
      Monday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m. -- Inventories held by manufacturers, wholesalers, and 
      retailers likely increased by 0.3% in June, a bit less than the 0.4% gain in 
      May. That's the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, 
      one of the McGraw-Hill Cos. Factories have already reported a 0.2% rise in 
      their stock levels, and wholesale inventories were up 0.5%. Business sales 
      likely rose a strong 0.6% in June, on top of a 0.5% increase in May.
      
      INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION
      Tuesday, Aug. 15, 9:15 a.m. -- Output at the nation's factories, mines, and 
      utilities likely fell a small 0.1% in July. That's suggested by the drops in 
      factory jobs and workweek. However, the record heat wave across the Midwest and 
      East probably caused utility output to jump in July. Industrial output rose a 
      small 0.1% in June, after three consecutive declines. Capacity utilization 
      rates likely dipped to 83.2% last month, from 83.5% in June. Operating rates 
      hit an expansion high of 85.5% in December.
      
      HOUSING STARTS
      Wednesday, Aug. 16, 8:30 a.m. -- Housing starts probably rebounded in July, to 
      an annual rate of 1.3 million. Starts dropped 0.1% in June, to a 1.26 million 
      pace, but single-family starts alone increased 3.9%. A pickup in housing 
      demand, thanks to a drop in mortgage rates, helped to clear out an overhang of 
      unsold homes and prompted builders to start construction.
      
      INTERNATIONAL TRADE
      Thursday, Aug. 17, 8:30 a.m. -- The MMS survey forecasts that the trade deficit 
      for goods and services narrowed to about $10.5 billion in June, from a very 
      high $11.4 billion in both April and May. The trade deficit was responsible for 
      cutting one-half of a percentage point from economic growth in the second 
      quarter. Exports, which rose by 1.3% in May, are forecast to rise again in 
      June, while imports, up 1.1%, are expected to be unchanged.
      
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