Business Week Index
THE WEEK AHEAD
Thursday, June 12, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Retail sales probably increased by 0.4% in
May, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS
International, one of The McGraw-Hill Companies. The modest increase is
suggested by a small gain in motor-vehicle buying for the month and weekly
reports from other retailers that showed a rebound in shopping. The MMS
economists expect that, excluding cars, store receipts probably rose by 0.3% in
May. In April, when individuals paid a record $134.3 billion in federal taxes,
total retail sales fell 0.3%, and nonauto buying was down 0.1%. Retail buying
accounts for about one-third of the entire economy, so a weakness in store
purchases generally suggests that the overall economy is slowing this quarter.
Friday, June 13, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The MMS survey expects that inventories held
by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers grew a small 0.2% in April, half
the 0.4% increase in March. But the gain could be larger because factories have
already reported a 0.6% rise in their April stock levels. Business sales likely
increased 0.5% in April, after falling 0.3% in March. That's suggested by 1.2%
jump in factory shipments. Inventories remain lean compared with sales, and
inventory building was a prime source of economic growth in the first quarter.
Businesses are probably continuing to restock goods this quarter as well.
PRODUCER PRICE INDEX
Friday, June 13, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- Producer prices of finished goods likely edged
up 0.1% in May, after falling energy prices led to a surprise 0.6% decline in
the April PPI. Excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, core producer
prices likely increased 0.1% after slipping 0.1% in April. Further back in the
production process, core prices of intermediate materials and supplies are no
longer falling, but the cost of raw materials is still down. The yearly
inflation rate for total producer prices and core costs of finished goods stood
below 1% in April.