The Week Ahead

      Tuesday, June 18, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Housing starts likely fell to an annual rate 
      of 1.48 million in May, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS 
      International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Housing has held up quite well 
      this year, even as long-term interest rates have risen. Starts jumped 5.9% in 
      April, to 1.52 million. However, mortgage applications to buy a home have 
      flattened out recently, suggesting that demand is tapering off.
      Wednesday, June 19, noonEDT -- The Federal Reserve's survey of its 12 districts 
      will report on a range of economic trends including price pressures, labor 
      shortages, and retailing, construction, and manufacturing activity. The latest 
      beige book is being prepared in advance of the monetary policy meeting on July 
      Thursday, June 20, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The MMS median forecast says that the trade 
      deficit for goods and services likely narrowed to $8.7 billion in April, from 
      $8.9 billion in March. Exports, which fell in March, are projected to have 
      rebounded in April. Imports, which increased in March, probably hit another 
      record in April. Still, the U.S. trade deficit is expected to decline through 
      the rest of the year, as growth picks up in the industrialized economies.
      Friday, June 21, 2 p.m.EDT -- The Treasury Dept. will probably report a budget 
      deficit of $48 billion in May, up from $40 billion in May, 1995. In April, the 
      U.S. posted a record surplus of $72.4 billion. Individuals paid a record amount 
      of taxes because of capital gains from last year's stock market boom and the 
      final installment of the 1993 tax hike on wealthy households. The April inflow 
      prompted the Congressional Budget Office to trim its forecast of the fiscal 
      1996 deficit to just $130 billion, down from the actual $164 billion shortfall 
      in 1995.