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Business Week Index: THE WEEK AHEAD
BusinessWeek Index: THE WEEK AHEAD
Tuesday, May 23 The Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee will
probably keep monetary policy on hold at their meeting. That's the consensus
view of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill
Companies. That means that the federal funds rate will remain at 6%. The Fed
has not raised rates since Feb. 1. And given the broad evidence that the
economy is slowing, monetary policy could remain on hold until at least fall.
DURABLE GOODS ORDERS
Wednesday, May 24, 8:30 a.m. New orders taken by durable-goods manufacturers
probably fell by 0.5% in April, according to the median forecast of the MMS
survey. That would reverse the 0.5% advance in orders in March. The April
decline is suggested by the steep 0.8% drop in durable-goods output already
reported. Most of the weakness is concentrated in motor vehicles. The backlog
of unfilled orders was probably flat after increasing 0.5% in both February and
Thursday, May 25, 8:30 a.m. New claims for state unemployment insurance
benefits likely fell to an annual rate of 350,000 for the week ended May 20.
Filings took a surprise jump at the end of April, rising to 371,000. And they
remained at 365,000 for the week of May 6. The four-week moving average of
jobless claims is hovering near 360,000--a very high level given the solid
growth in the economy and an unemployment rate below 6%.
EXISTING HOME SALES
Thursday, May 25, 8:45 a.m. Sales of existing homes were probably little
changed in April after rising 5.8% in March, to an annual rate of 3.62 million.
The bond rally has pushed down fixed mortgage rates to below 8% in some areas.
Those cheaper loans have meant a rush of buyers who otherwise could not afford
a home. Still, homebuying in this business cycle probably peaked in 1994.