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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING

Monday, Aug. 4, 10 a.m.EDT -- Spending on building projects likely rebounded

by a strong 0.8% in June, according to the median forecast of economists

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

and nonresidential construction likely led the increase. Spending dropped 1.8%

in May, but construction activity had risen steadily before that.

LEADING INDICATORS

Tuesday, Aug. 5, 10 a.m.EDT -- The Conference Board's index of leading

indicators likely increased 0.1% in June. That would follow a 0.3% advance in

May. A rising stock market and better orders offset a gain in unemployment

claims and drop in building permits. The leading indicators give no sign of

trouble for the economy going into 1998.

THE BEIGE BOOK

Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2 p.m.EDT -- The Federal Reserve's survey of regional

economies will round up reports on business activity within its 12 districts.

During his semiannual talk to Congress, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan discussed

tightness in the labor markets and its inflationary consequences. Consequently,

market participants will be most interested in the Beige Book's reports on

labor-market conditions and rising wages. The Beige Book is prepared in advance

of the Fed's next policy meeting, scheduled for Aug. 19.

INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Thursday, Aug. 7, 3 p.m.EDT -- The MMS report forecasts that consumers added

$4.5 billion in new credit in June. That's suggested by a gain in retail sales

and vehicle purchases. In May, installment debt rose by only $3 billion, down

from the $7.2 billion average in the previous four months. Revolving credit,

which includes credit cards, was up only $0.7 billion in May. Consumer-debt

growth has slowed sharply in 1997, as banks tighten lending standards and

households pay down existing debts.


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