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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

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

certain to be postponed.

INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Monday, Jan. 8, 3 p.m. -- Consumers probably added $8.8 billion in installment

credit in November, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by

MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Household debt exploded in

1995, with more than $100 billion in new borrowings. Much of that was in

credit-card debt. In October, debt increased $10.6 billion and credit

outstanding probably hit a record high of 18.9% of disposable income, even

before the holiday buying season.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Thursday, Jan. 11, 8:30 a.m. -- Producer prices of finished goods likely rose

by 0.4% in December, because of rising fuel prices. Excluding volatile food and

energy, producer prices likely rose a smaller 0.2%. In November, total prices

surged 0.5% because of a large gain in the seasonal adjusted price of new cars.

Without food and energy, the increase was 0.4%.

RETAIL SALES

Friday, Jan. 12, 8:30 a.m. -- The MMS survey forecasts that retail sales

increased by about 0.2% in December, following a 0.8% jump in November. The

smaller increase is suggested by the flimsy sales reported by chain stores and

lackluster buying of motor vehicles. Excluding cars, retail buying probably

also rose 0.2% last month, after a 0.9% gain in November.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

Friday, Jan. 12, 8:30 a.m. -- Consumer prices likely advanced by 0.3% in

December, says the MMS report. Most of the increase will be in service prices,

because cold weather increased energy use. Weak retailing reports suggest that

goods prices remained modest. In November, analysts were surprised when

consumer prices were unchanged. Excluding food and energy, the core CPI likely

rose 0.2% in December, after a 0.1% rise in November.


Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
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