BY MID-1970, IT WAS CLEAR that the year would not be a banner period for business investment in plant and equipment. Throughout the year, planned expenditure increases, announced in successive reports, became more and more modest. The 12 percent rise from 1969 to 1970 foreseen in some private surveys in the fall of 1969, and the 10 percent increase projected in the survey released by the Office of Business Economics and the Securities and Exchange Commission (OBE-SEC) in March 1970, shrank to 7.8 percent in the June survey, and the planned increase was pegged at 6.6 percent in the survey released early in September. With the price deflator for fixed investment rising at an annual rate of nearly 5 percent during the first half of 1970, the prospect at the beginning of the fourth quarter is for very little, if any, increase over 1969 in real terms. In fact, the deflated total of fixed investment recorded in the national income and product accounts—an aggregate conceptually different from that measured by the OBE-SEC survey—indicated that in real terms seasonally adjusted expenditures for the first half of 1970 were below the 1969 average.