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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