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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Monday, July 8, 3 p.m.EDT -- Consumers probably took on an additional $8.7

billion in new credit in May. That's the median forecast of economists surveyed

by MMS International, ene of The McGraw-Hill Companies. The strong gain is

suggested by the increase inretail sales, especially for durable goods, which

are typically bought on credit. Debt increased by arelatively small $6.6

billion in April, but the slower borrowing pace may have been an offset to

therecord tax payments made by individuals in April. Some consumers are

starting to get squeezed by too much debt: First-quarter delinquencyrates on

credit cards jumped to the highest level in 15 years.

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS

Thursday, July 11, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- New claims for state unemployment benefits

probably stood at a 325,000 pace for the week ending July 6. That's below the

350,000 average for filings over the past few weeks, but the latest survey

period will include Independence Day, when state offices are closed.

RETAIL SALES

Friday, July 12, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The MMS median forecast projects thatretail

sales increased by just 0.2% in June, following a strong 0.8% advance in May.

The slower pace is indicated by the weekly survey ofretailers and steady sales

of motor vehicles. Excluding cars, storereceipts likely increased by 0.3% in

June, the same gain posted in May.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Friday, July 12, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Producer prices of finished goods were

probably unchanged in June, after falling 0.1% in May. Lower energy prices will

likely lead the decline. Excluding food and energy costs, core producer prices

likely edged up 0.1% in June, after no change in May. Further back in the

production cycle, prices for intermediate supplies andraw materials probably

declined in June because of the collapse in copper prices following the scandal

at Sumitomo Corp.


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