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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

Due to the prolonged Washington shutdown, all government release dates are

certain to be postponed.

NAPM SURVEY

Tuesday, Jan. 2, 10 a.m. -- The National Association of Purchasing Management's

business activity index probably rose to 47.8% in December, according to the

median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of The

McGraw-Hill Companies. That low reading suggests that the industrial sector was

struggling in December. For the previous four months, the NAPM index slid below

the 50% mark that signals a shrinking factory sector. The index was 46.5% in

November.

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING

Tuesday, Jan. 2, 10 a.m. -- The MMS survey expects that construction outlays

probably dropped by about 0.5% in November, after jumping 2.7% in October.

Following a surge in October, spending on public-works projects likely fell

back in November.

NEW HOME SALES

Wednesday, Jan. 3, 10 a.m. -- New single-family homes probably sold at an

annual rate of 675,000 in November, little changed from the 673,000 sales rate

in October, says the MMS report. Home buying has declined for three consecutive

months, but lower mortgage rates in 1996 could stabilize home sales in the

first quarter.

FACTORY INVENTORIES

Thursday, Jan. 4, 10 a.m. -- Factory inventories probably grew by about 0.3% in

November, after a 0.4% gain in October. That's suggested by the small increase

in factory output for the month.

EMPLOYMENT

Friday, Jan. 5, 8:30 a.m. -- The MMS median forecast calls for a gain of

125,000 new nonfarm jobs in December, less than the 166,000 added in November.

However, the survey also calls for manufacturing jobs to rise by 15,000, the

first increase since August. The unemployment rate probably stood at 5.6% last

month, unchanged from November's rate.


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