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Business Week Index
THE WEEK AHEAD
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.
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.
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.