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Business Week Index: The Week Ahead


Business Week Index: THE WEEK AHEAD

BusinessWeek Index: THE WEEK AHEAD

HOUSING STARTS

Tuesday, Apr. 18, 8:30 a.m.

March housing starts are expected to have risen to an annual rate of 1.35

million, up from 1.32 million in February. That's the median projection of a

survey of economists by MMS International, a unit of McGraw-Hill Inc. Mild

weather, which also inflated March construction employment, will buoy the

starts number. Weak demand and downbeat builders' surveys suggest little

strength this spring, though.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Wednesday, Apr. 19, 8:30 a.m.

The MMS survey expects the February balance of trade in goods and services to

post a deficit of $10.2 billion, less than January's $12.2 billion gap. Exports

are expected to rise, but they will be held back by another steep drop in

shipments to Mexico. Imports will also edge lower, according to the survey, but

by less than exports. The trade deficit is on track to exert a strong negative

influence on first-quarter growth in real gross domestic product.

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS

Thursday, Apr. 20, 8:30 a.m.

New weekly claims for jobless benefits appear to be moving into the

340,000-to-350,000 range for the week of Apr. 15. The four-week average, which

has been trending higher recently, stood at 342,500 at the end of March--the

most in nine months. That rise reflects at least a slight easing in labor

market conditions as retail sales and industrial output have slowed.

FEDERAL BUDGET

Friday, Apr. 21, 2 p.m.

The MMS survey expects the U.S. Treasury to report a March deficit of $40

billion, up from $32.3 billion in March of last year. Even so, the federal

deficit is on track to finish the year some 10% to 15% below last year's

deficit of $203.3 billion. Although delays in tax refunds may be boosting

receipts temporarily, the deficit may yet come in below the Congressional

Budget Office's projection of $176 billion.


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