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The Week Ahead


Business Outlook

THE WEEK AHEAD

HOUSING STARTS

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 8:30 a.m.

Construction of new housing probably rose to an annual rate of 1.25 million units in August, according to economists surveyed by McGraw-Hill Inc.'s MMS International. Despite the lowest mortgage rates in 23 years, starts fell 0.2% in June and a further 2.7% in July. Those drops, along with better weather last month, suggest the August bounceback may be stronger than expected.

FEDERAL BUDGET

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2 p.m.

The federal government will likely report a deficit of $25 billion in August, nearly identical to the $24.7 billion posted in August, 1992. Government finances are benefiting from better-than-forecast tax receipts--a result of healthier growth in personal income and corporate profits. Also, the lack of funding for the Resolution Trust Corp. has curtailed outlays for the savings and loan cleanup this year. After August, only one month is left in fiscal 1993, and the Treasury usually has a surplus in September. That means that Washington could have a deficit of less than $260 billion in 1993--the smallest government gap in three years.

CAR SALES

Thursday, Sept. 23

New domestically made cars probably sold at an annual rate of 6.6 million in the middle of September. That's a bit better than their 6.4 million pace earlier in the month, but below the 6.9 million pace averaged in the second quarter.

DURABLE GOODS ORDERS

Friday, Sept. 24, 8:30 a.m.

New orders for durable goods likely increased by 1.5%, forecast the MMS economists. Bookings fell 3.1% in July, but most of that decline was in demand for aircraft. New orders for cars and light trucks probably carried the day in August. But because these vehicles are shipped out quickly, unfilled orders for durable goods probably continued to slide in August. In July, the backlog dropped for the fifth consecutive month, sliding 0.2%.JAMES C. COOPER and KATHLEEN MADIGAN


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