Business Week Index
THE WEEK AHEAD
Tuesday, Oct. 21, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- The trade balance for goods and services in
August is expected to show a deficit of $10 billion, based on the median
forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, a unit of The McGraw-Hill
Companies. The July deficit swelled to $10.3 billion from $8.3 billion in June.
August exports are projected to have risen to $78 billion, after dropping to
$77.4 billion in July. Imports are expected to have risen to $88.2 billion,
after jumping to $87.7 billion in July. The way the third-quarter trade gap is
shaping up, trade will provide a drag on third-quarter growth in real gross
domestic product, scheduled for release on Oct. 31.
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2:00 p.m. EDT -- For September, the final month of the 1997
fiscal year, the Treasury is expected to report a deficit of $46 billion, based
on the results of the MMS survey, compared to a gap of $35.3 billion in
September, 1996. If the projection is on the mark, the 1997 deficit will total
$29 billion, the lowest for any fiscal year since 1974. Moreover, the deficit
as a percentage of gross domestic product will fall to only 0.4%. Given
continued strong growth into 1998, the deficit for fiscal 1998 should at least
equal that performance. Since the report is the last for the fiscal year, there
is often a reporting delay, as the final accounts are reconciled.
Thursday, Oct. 23, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- First-time filings for jobless benefits in
the week ended Oct. 18 are expected to have remained close to their recent
weekly average of about 310,000. The September average of claims stood at
308,000, the lowest for any month since 1989, suggesting that labor markets
continue to tighten. Recent claims numbers, which tend to foreshadow movements
in the unemployment rate, suggest that joblessness will fall further in coming
months, from 4.9% in September. The claims data will be increasingly important
to Wall Street in coming weeks, given the Federal Reserve chairman's focus on
labor markets in recent congressional testimony.