The Week Ahead

FEDERAL BUDGET
      Monday, Sept. 23, 2 p.m.EDT -- The Treasury Dept. will probably report a 
      deficit of $34.5 billion for August, says the median forecast of economists 
      surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Washington 
      posted a gap of $33.9 billion a year ago. The deficit is expected to total 
      about $120 billion when fiscal 1996 ends on Sept. 30.
      
      FOMC MEETING
      Tuesday, Sept. 24 -- The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee will meet to 
      set monetary policy for the next seven weeks. The MMS economists are almost 
      evenly split, with about half looking for a one-quarter-point increase in the 
      federal funds rate, to 5.5%, and the other half expecting the Fed to hold rates 
      steady. The central bank last moved policy in January, when it cut the fed 
      funds rate by a quarter-point. A Sept. 17 report on the Reuters newswire said 
      that 8 of the 12 Fed district presidents have requested a hike in interest 
      rates.
      
      CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
      Tuesday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m.EDT -- The Conference Board's index of consumer 
      confidence probably fell to 108 in September after rising to 109.4 in August. 
      The confidence index has been over 100 for the past five months, suggesting 
      that solid job growth is lifting consumers' spirits.
      
      EXISTING HOME SALES
      Wednesday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m.EDT -- The MMS median forecast expects that 
      existing homes probably sold at a high annual rate of 4.1 million in August. In 
      July, resales fell a small 0.5% to a 4.14 million pace.
      
      DURABLE GOODS ORDERS
      Thursday, Sept. 26, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- New orders taken by durable-goods 
      manufacturers were probably unchanged in August, says the MMS survey. Orders 
      increased a surprisingly strong 1.7% in July. Although demand for motor 
      vehicles probably slipped last month, production gains for other durable goods 
      suggest that orders for capital goods increased in August.
      

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