The Week Ahead


Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2 p.m. EDT -- The Treasury is expected to report that August outlays exceeded receipts by $23 billion, based on the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard and Poor's MMS, a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. That deficit would be less than the $35.2 billion gap reported in August, 1997. The budget for all of the 1998 fiscal year is on track to post a surplus in the neighborhood of $70 billion, the largest in the postwar era.


Thursday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m. EDT -- Orders taken by manufacturers of durable goods in August are projected to have held unchanged from their July level, based on the S&P MMS survey. Orders in July had jumped 1.9% from June, when they rose a scant 0.1%, after plunging 3.3% in May. Looking through the recent volatility, new orders have weakened somewhat this year, led by metals and transportation equipment. Capital-goods orders, excluding aircraft, are holding up fairly well.


Friday, Sept. 25, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- Personal income in August is expected to have risen by 0.5%, according to the S&P MMS survey, the same solid gain as in July. The rise reflects August gains in jobs, hours worked, and hourly earnings. Consumer spending on goods and services in August is projected to have increased by 0.4%, a rebound from the 0.2% drop in July. That decline reflected the strike at General Motors Corp. and the end of attractive sales incentives, which had boosted June car purchases.


Friday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m. EDT -- Sales of existing single-family homes in August are projected to have dipped to an annual rate of 4.85 million, based on the S&P MMS survey. July sales had jumped to a record 4.93 million, from 4.74 million in June. Sales for the rest of the year will be buffeted by crosscurrents coming from weaker stock prices and lower mortgage rates. Already, lower rates have resulted in a surge in mortgage applications in early September.

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