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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Tuesday, May 7, 3 p.m.EDT -- Consumers probably added about $7 billion in new

credit in March, significantly less than the big increases of the last few

months. In February, for instance, installment debt jumped by $12 billion.

Sluggish retail sales suggest that credit-card use slowed in March, although

auto financing probably continued to grow at a healthy clip. The already

record-high level of existing debt is causing worries that consumers may start

to cut back on their spending. However, income growth remains solid enough to

carry rising debt burdens.

BEIGE BOOK

Wednesday, May 8, 12 p.m.EDT -- The Federal Reserve will take a look at the

regional economies of its 12 districts in preparation for the monetary policy

meeting scheduled for May 21. The Beige Book is a compilation of anecdotal

reporting on economic activity, labor conditions, and wage and price pressures.

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS

Thursday, May 9. 8:30 a.m.EDT -- New filings for state unemployment insurance

benefits likely stood at about 330,000 in the week ended May 4. Jobless claims

have been running about 350,000 in recent weeks, a high level in a tight labor

market.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Friday, May 10, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Producer prices of finished goods probably rose

by 0.4% in April, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS

International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. Higher gasoline prices

will lead the runup, as they did in March when the total PPI increased by a

large 0.5%. Excluding food and energy costs, producer prices likely rose just

0.1% in April, the same small gain posted in both February and March.


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