The Week Ahead

      Tuesday, Aug. 20, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The foreign trade deficit for goods and 
      services likely narrowed in June to $9.3 billion, from an unexpectedly large 
      $10.9 billion in May. That's the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS 
      International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Exports, which increased 1.1% 
      in May, are expected to have risen further, while imports probably fell back 
      after climbing strongly for three months in a row.
      Tuesday, Aug. 20 -- By a wide margin, the MMS economists expect no action at 
      the policy meeting of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee. That means 
      the Fed will keep its target for the federal funds rate--the cost of overnight 
      borrowing by member banks--at 5.25%. The central bank last moved short-term 
      interest rates on Jan. 31, when it cut the fed funds rate by a quarter-point. 
      The consensus view among economists now is that any future move will be to 
      raise rates.
      Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2 p.m.EDT -- The Treasury Dept. will probably announce a 
      budget deficit of $25 billion in July. In July, 1995, the deficit totaled just 
      $13.6 billion, but that's because the first of the month fell on Saturday and 
      Social Security checks were sent out in late June, 1995. The deficit is on 
      track to end fiscal 1996 below $120 billion, from $164 billion in 1995. But on 
      Aug. 12, the Congressional Budget Office released a report warning that federal 
      red ink would begin to flow faster again in 1997 and reach $285 billion by 2002 
      if no changes are made to fiscal policy.
      Friday, Aug. 23, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- New orders taken by durable-goods 
      manufacturers likely rebounded by 1% in July, after dropping 0.6% in June. 
      Rising demand for motor vehicles likely led the gain. Unfilled orders, which 
      rose 0.6% in May and June, probably increased again in July.

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