The Week Ahead

      Monday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m. -- Inventories held by manufacturers, wholesalers, 
      and retailers are expected to show a 0.4% increase in July, according to the 
      median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of the 
      McGraw-Hill Cos. Stock levels had risen 0.2% in June. If the projection is on 
      the mark, inventories would begin the third quarter rising slightly less than 
      their average second-quarter pace, suggesting that businesses continue to rein 
      in their inventory growth.
      Tuesday, Sept. 19, 8:30 a.m. -- Builders broke ground on new homes at an annual 
      rate of 1.38 million units in August, the same as in July, say the forecasters. 
      July starts had surged to the highest level of the year, as lower interest 
      rates boosted sales.
      Wednesday, Sept. 20, 8:30 a.m. -- The trade deficit for goods and services is 
      expected to have narrowed a bit in July, to $10.9 billion, from $11.3 billion 
      in June, say the economists. If so, the trade gap would begin the third quarter 
      a shade below the second-quarter average, so trade may not be as big a drag on 
      economic growth as it was in the second quarter. July exports are expected to 
      have advanced, while imports apparently held steady.
      Friday, Sept. 22 -- The federal budget for August is expected to have been in 
      deficit by $28 billion, up from August, 1994's red ink of $24.3 billion. The 
      deficit for the first 10 months of the fiscal year totaled $133.9 billion. The 
      August projection would bring the deficit's 12-month moving sum to $161.1 
      billion, suggesting that the budget gap is on target to hit the Congressional 
      Budget Office's latest projection of $161 billion. That would bring the deficit 
      down to 2.3% of gross domestic product, the lowest in relation to the size of 
      the economy since 1979. Improvement in the most recent years stems mainly from 
      increased receipts, reflecting the strength of the economy.

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