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The Week Ahead


Business Outlook

THE WEEK AHEAD

GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT (REVISION) Wednesday, May 29, 8:30 a.m.

The first-quarter economy probably declined at a 2.6% annual rate--little changed from the Commerce Dept.'s initial estimate of a 2.8% drop, according to a survey done by MMS International, a unit of McGraw-Hill Inc. Upward revisions to consumer spending and foreign trade will be offset by lower readings on inventories and nonresidential construction. In the fourth quarter, real GNP fell at a 1.6% annual rate.

PERSONAL INCOME Thursday, May 30, 10 a.m.

It's likely that personal income rose a small 0.2% in April--the same as in March, say MMS economists. That's suggested by weakness in the labor markets and meager gains in weekly pay. But after adjusting for inflation and taxes, real disposable income was probably flat in April, after increasing by only 0.2% in March. Consumer spending probably rose just 0.1% in April, after a strong 0.6% advance in March.

NEW SINGLE-FAMILY HOME SALES Thursday, May 30, 10 a.m.

New homes probably sold at an annual rate of about 500,000 in April. That's a small gain from the 490,000 pace in March. The April uptick in housing starts suggests that builders were able to sell some of their overhang of inventory in April.

LEADING INDICATORS Friday, May 31, 8:30 a.m.

The MMS consensus is that the government's composite index of leading indicators likely increased by 0.3% in April. That would be the third rise in a row, suggesting that a recovery will start in the second half. The index advanced by 0.5% in March.

FACTORY INVENTORIES Friday, May 31, 10 a.m.

Manufacturers continued to pare down inventories, which probably fell by about 0.5% in April. In March, stockpiles dropped by 0.6%. The April drawdown is suggested by weak industrial output and sluggish new orders.KATHLEEN MADIGAN


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