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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

HOUSING STARTS

Tuesday, Apr. 16, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Housing starts probably fell back to an

annual rate of 1.45 million in March, says the median forecast of economists

surveyed by MMS International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Homebuilding

stayed remarkably high over the winter months. Starts rose 1.5% in January and

3% in February, to a 1.49 million pace. Now, however, higher mortgage rates

have reduced demand.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

Tuesday, Apr. 16, 9:15 a.m.EDT -- Output at the nation's factories, mines, and

utilities probably fell by 0.4% in March, says the MMS forecast. That's

suggested by the weakness in the March report from the National Association of

Purchasing Management, the drop in manufacturing payrolls, and the strike at

General Motors Corp. Industrial production bounced back 1.2% in February, after

the blizzard cut output in January. Operating rates for all industry likely

slipped to 82.4% in March, from 82.9% in February.

PHILADELPHIA FED SURVEY

Thursday, Apr. 18, 10 a.m.EDT -- The financial markets have begun to notice the

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's survey of area businesses because it is

one of the earliest readings of each month's economic activity. The bond market

rallied when the Mar. 21 report said that the March general economic index fell

to -0.1, meaning slightly more businesses saw a slowdown than reported better

growth.

TREASURY BUDGET

Friday, Apr. 19, 2 p.m.EDT -- The Treasury Dept. will probably report a deficit

of $44.5 billion in March, says the median MMS forecast. That's better than the

$50.5 billion shortfall in March, 1995. However, the deficit could be higher

because the government is still playing catch-up in outlays after the last

shutdown, and tax refunds are running above last year's levels. Still, the

budget deficit seems on track to total about $150 billion for fiscal 1996,

which ends in September.


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