The Week Ahead

      Tuesday, Sept. 3, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The Conference Board's index of leading 
      indicators probably rose a slight 0.1% in July, says the median forecast of 
      economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. If 
      so, that would be the sixth consecutive increase, foreshadowing continued 
      economic growth into 1997. In June, the index rose 0.5%.
      Tuesday, Sept. 3, 10 a.m.EDT -- The National Association of Purchasing 
      Management's business index likely rose to 51.5% in August from 50.2% in July. 
      The increase would confirm that the industrial sector is recovering after a 
      slump earlier in the year. Economists also will want to see whether the 
      purchasing managers' index of vendor deliveries rose above its July reading of 
      50.9%. A big gain would indicate that producers are taking longer to deliver 
      goods. Such capacity constraints could lead to future price increases.
      Wednesday, Sept. 4, 10 a.m.EDT -- The MMS survey projects that construction 
      outlays rose 0.2% in July, after jumping 1.2% in June. Increases in 
      nonresidential spending and government works likely offset a drop in 
      homebuilding, as suggested by a 1.3% fall in housing starts in July.
      Friday, Sept. 6, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The MMS median forecast predicts that 225,000 
      nonfarm jobs were created in August. Combined with July's 193,000 new jobs, 
      payrolls would be rising at a 209,000 monthly rate so far in the third quarter. 
      That's below the 273,000 average of the second, but the pace is probably too 
      fast for the Federal Reserve, especially because the jobless rate likely dipped 
      to 5.3% from July's 5.4%. The MMS survey also projects that hourly pay rose 
      0.3%, pushing annual wage growth back up to 3.3%. Even stronger wage gains 
      might persuade the Fed to tighten monetary policy--perhaps soon after the 
      release of the job report.

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