The Week Ahead

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING
         Monday, Aug. 4, 10 a.m.EDT -- Spending on building projects likely rebounded 
      by a strong 0.8% in June, according to the median forecast of economists 
      surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Public-works 
      and nonresidential construction likely led the increase. Spending dropped 1.8% 
      in May, but construction activity had risen steadily before that.
      
      LEADING INDICATORS
         Tuesday, Aug. 5, 10 a.m.EDT -- The Conference Board's index of leading 
      indicators likely increased 0.1% in June. That would follow a 0.3% advance in 
      May. A rising stock market and better orders offset a gain in unemployment 
      claims and drop in building permits. The leading indicators give no sign of 
      trouble for the economy going into 1998.
      
      THE BEIGE BOOK
         Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2 p.m.EDT -- The Federal Reserve's survey of regional 
      economies will round up reports on business activity within its 12 districts. 
      During his semiannual talk to Congress, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan discussed 
      tightness in the labor markets and its inflationary consequences. Consequently, 
      market participants will be most interested in the Beige Book's reports on 
      labor-market conditions and rising wages. The Beige Book is prepared in advance 
      of the Fed's next policy meeting, scheduled for Aug. 19.
      
      INSTALLMENT CREDIT
         Thursday, Aug. 7, 3 p.m.EDT -- The MMS report forecasts that consumers added 
      $4.5 billion in new credit in June. That's suggested by a gain in retail sales 
      and vehicle purchases. In May, installment debt rose by only $3 billion, down 
      from the $7.2 billion average in the previous four months. Revolving credit, 
      which includes credit cards, was up only $0.7 billion in May. Consumer-debt 
      growth has slowed sharply in 1997, as banks tighten lending standards and 
      households pay down existing debts.
      

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