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WorldCom is expected to outline its plans for its consumer business on Wednesday, while the s ubject of a consumer tracking stock will likely be prominent at a Sprint meeting with analysts on Friday. The economy should slow, oil prices drop and the Fed might even begin lowering interest rates next year, economist Kenneth Mayland said Friday.Mayland, head of ClearView Economics in Cleveland and the former chief economist for KeyBank, expects the gross domestic product growth to be about 3.4 percent in 2001, down from an expected 5.2 percent this year. Mayland told KeyBank clients in Cincinnati that inflation will also fall next year to about 3 percent from about 3.3 percent this year.
Look for credit to tighten next year with the slowdown, he said. But, Mayland said, aside from oil, the period of maximum price pressure is behind us and inflation is in check. Next years slowdown will be led by a drop in consumer spending, which accounts for two-thi rds of the economy, he said. Business spending will continue at high rates for technology, but drop noticeably for industrial goods through 2002, he said. As for government spending, the one sure thing is that whoever is elected president, defense spending will increase in the coming years, Mayland said. Great American Financial Resources Inc., the parent of Great American Life and other insurance companies, said Friday it earned $20 million (47 cents) in the quarter ended Sept. 30, before investment gains.