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The Week Ahead


Business Outlook

THE WEEK AHEAD

FEDERAL BUDGET

Monday, Feb. 22, 2 p.m.

The federal government will probably report a deficit of $25 billion in January, say the economists surveyed by McGraw-Hill Inc.'s MMS International. The budget gap in January, 1992, was $15.7 billion. The expected January deficit would mean the government is already $145.5 billion in the red in just the first four months of fiscal 1993. Most private forecasters project a deficit of about $310 billion for the entire year.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m.

The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence probably changed little in February from January's reading of 77. That's suggested by the small uptick in the University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment in early February. Consumers' better outlook on jobs is offsetting the negative effects of higher taxes.

DURABLE GOODS ORDERS

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 8:30 a.m.

The MMS economists expect that new orders for durable goods probably fell 2.8% in January. That would hardly reverse the broad 8.7% jump that orders took in December. Much of the expected falloff in January will likely be in bookings of aircraft and electrical equipment. The drop in new orders suggests that unfilled orders declined in January, after posting their first gain in more than a year in December.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (REVISION)

Friday, Feb. 26, 8:30 a.m.

The Commerce Dept.'s first revision to the fourth-quarter economy should show that real gross domestic product still grew at an annual rate of 3.8%, says the MMS report. Consumer spending and the foreign trade sector will probably be revised lower, while inventory accumulation contributed more to growth than first thought. The economy's performance last quarter was the best since 1988. GDP grew by 3.4% in the third quarter. The inflation rate, as measured by the GDP price deflator, remained at a 1.7% annual rate in the fourth quarter.JAMES C. COOPER AND KATHLEEN MADIGAN


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