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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

The Week Ahead

LEADING INDICATORS

Tuesday, Apr. 6, 10 a.m. EDT -- The Conference Board's composite index of leading indicators probably increased 0.2% in February, says the median forecast of economists surveyed by Standard & Poor's MMS, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. The index jumped 0.4% in January, led by large gains in stock prices and new orders for nondefense capital goods. The stock market probably contributed again to the February increase.INSTALLMENT CREDIT

Wednesday, Apr. 7, 3 p.m. EDT -- Consumers likely took on $5.5 billion more in debt than they paid off in February. That would be down sharply from the $14.7 billion accumulated in January. However, the trend in installment credit has accelerated in recent months as households keep spending at a prodigious rate.EXPORT-IMPORT PRICES

Thursday, Apr. 8, 10 a.m. EDT -- The S&P MMS survey expects that export prices were unchanged in March, after slipping 0.1% in February. Falling agricultural prices likely offset gains elsewhere. Import prices probably edged up 0.1% last month, reversing their 0.1% drop in February. Higher crude-oil prices likely boosted overall import prices, which are still below their year-ago levels. The renewed strength in the U.S. dollar should help keep import prices down in coming months.PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

Friday, Apr. 9, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- According to the S&P MMS median forecast, producer prices for finished goods probably increased a small 0.2% in March, after they fell a larger-than-expected 0.4% in February. Higher oil prices will likely lead the March gain. Excluding food and energy prices, core producer costs likely rose just 0.1% in March, after showing no change in February. Pricing power at the wholesale level is nonexistent. Falling commodity prices and lower imported goods prices are keeping inflation at bay in the U.S.


Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
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