The Week Ahead

      Thursday, June 12, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Retail sales probably increased by 0.4% in 
      May, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS 
      International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. The modest increase is 
      suggested by a small gain in motor-vehicle buying for the month and weekly 
      reports from other retailers that showed a rebound in shopping. The MMS 
      economists expect that, excluding cars, store receipts probably rose by 0.3% in 
      May. In April, when individuals paid a record $134.3 billion in federal taxes, 
      total retail sales fell 0.3%, and nonauto buying was down 0.1%. Retail buying 
      accounts for about one-third of the entire economy, so a weakness in store 
      purchases generally suggests that the overall economy is slowing this quarter.
      Friday, June 13, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The MMS survey expects that inventories held 
      by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers grew a small 0.2% in April, half 
      the 0.4% increase in March. But the gain could be larger because factories have 
      already reported a 0.6% rise in their April stock levels. Business sales likely 
      increased 0.5% in April, after falling 0.3% in March. That's suggested by 1.2% 
      jump in factory shipments. Inventories remain lean compared with sales, and 
      inventory building was a prime source of economic growth in the first quarter. 
      Businesses are probably continuing to restock goods this quarter as well.
      Friday, June 13, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Producer prices of finished goods likely edged 
      up 0.1% in May, after falling energy prices led to a surprise 0.6% decline in 
      the April PPI. Excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, core producer 
      prices likely increased 0.1% after slipping 0.1% in April. Further back in the 
      production process, core prices of intermediate materials and supplies are no 
      longer falling, but the cost of raw materials is still down. The yearly 
      inflation rate for total producer prices and core costs of finished goods stood 
      below 1% in April.