The Week Ahead

      Tuesday, May 7, 3 p.m.EDT -- Consumers probably added about $7 billion in new 
      credit in March, significantly less than the big increases of the last few 
      months. In February, for instance, installment debt jumped by $12 billion. 
      Sluggish retail sales suggest that credit-card use slowed in March, although 
      auto financing probably continued to grow at a healthy clip. The already 
      record-high level of existing debt is causing worries that consumers may start 
      to cut back on their spending. However, income growth remains solid enough to 
      carry rising debt burdens.
      Wednesday, May 8, 12 p.m.EDT -- The Federal Reserve will take a look at the 
      regional economies of its 12 districts in preparation for the monetary policy 
      meeting scheduled for May 21. The Beige Book is a compilation of anecdotal 
      reporting on economic activity, labor conditions, and wage and price pressures.
      Thursday, May 9. 8:30 a.m.EDT -- New filings for state unemployment insurance 
      benefits likely stood at about 330,000 in the week ended May 4. Jobless claims 
      have been running about 350,000 in recent weeks, a high level in a tight labor 
      Friday, May 10, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Producer prices of finished goods probably rose 
      by 0.4% in April, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS 
      International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. Higher gasoline prices 
      will lead the runup, as they did in March when the total PPI increased by a 
      large 0.5%. Excluding food and energy costs, producer prices likely rose just 
      0.1% in April, the same small gain posted in both February and March.

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