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The Week Ahead


Business Outlook

THE WEEK AHEAD

INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Monday, June 7

Consumers probably piled on about $3 billion in new debt during April, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, a division of McGraw-Hill Inc. That's suggested by the strong gain in retail shopping in April, especially for cars. Installment debt grew by a fairly rapid clip in the first quarter, rising by a total of $11.1 billion. In March alone, debt increased by $3.4 billion.

CAPITAL SPENDING

Thursday, June 10, 8:30 a.m.

The Commerce Dept.'s spring survey of spending plans for new plant and equipment will probably show little change in budget forecasts for the rest of 1993. In the winter, businesses reported that they expect to increase their capital spending by about 6.6% this year, after a mere 0.8% advance in 1992. Most of the spending will go for equipment.

RETAIL SALES

Friday, June 11, 8:30 a.m.

The MMS survey forecasts a 0.7% gain in retail sales in May. Sales surged 1.2% in April after tumbling 0.8% in March. Spending on cars and light trucks probably led the May increase. Excluding cars, sales likely were up by 0.4% in May, after a 0.7% gain in April. Department-store sales, which jumped 2.2% in April, probably slacked off in May, according to the Johnson Redbook Report, published by brokerage firm Lynch, Jones & Ryan Inc.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Friday, June 11, 8:30 a.m.

Producer prices of finished goods probably rose by just 0.2% in May, forecast the MMS economists. That modest price increase would follow three consecutive price surprises that sent inflation shudders through the bond market. In April, prices shot up by 0.6%. But last month, falling food prices probably helped to slow the rise in the overall price index. Excluding food and energy costs, producer prices likely rose by only 0.2% in May, half of the worrisome 0.4% increase posted in April.JAMES C. COOPER AND KATHLEEN MADIGAN


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