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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Thursday, Oct. 12, 8:30 a.m. -- Producer prices of finished goods likely rose a

small 0.2% in September, according to the median forecast of economists

surveyed by MMS International, one of the McGraw-Hill Cos. If so, that would be

the first increase in prices since May. August producer prices fell 0.1%. And

over the past year, the PPI was up only 1.2%. The forecast expects that core

producer prices, which exclude food and energy, also rose 0.2% last month,

after rising 0.1% in August. Producer inflation may have been even weaker in

September, though. The National Association of Purchasing Management's index of

prices paid by its members for supplies and materials fell to its lowest level

in nearly three years in September.

RETAIL SALES

Friday, Oct. 13, 8:30 a.m. -- Retail sales probably increased 0.4% in

September, forecasts the MMS survey. That's suggested by the rise in weekly

sales at department and chain stores reported by the Johnson Redbook Service, a

unit of brokerage firm Lynch, Jones & Ryan Inc. Excluding cars, store receipts

likely advanced 0.5% last month. In August, strong car sales led to a 0.6%

surge in total retail buying. Nonauto sales, however, were flat. While

furniture purchases were up sharply, a poor back-to-school buying season was

blamed for falling receipts at clothing and department stores. And falling

gasoline prices held down gas station revenues.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

Friday, Oct. 13, 8:30 a.m. -- The MMS forecast calls for a 0.2% rise in

September consumer prices. Prices in August increased just 0.1% as falling

energy prices offset price hikes in meats and tobacco products. Excluding food

and energy, core consumer prices likely increased by 0.2% in September, the

same increase posted in each of the previous four months. After showing signs

of growing above 3% in early 1995, consumer inflation has slipped back down to

a 2.6% yearly pace.


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