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by 9/25/2000 3:59 PM
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The Treasury Department announced today that the federal government had a $10.43-billion deficit in August. Nevertheless, with one month to go in the fiscal year, the government is still on pace to record its third straight annual surplus.

Year-to-date, the surplus has totaled $170.84 billion, up from a surplus of $66.32 billion last year at this time. For the entire budget year that ends on September 30, the Congressional Budget Office is projecting a surplus of $268 billion.

Over the next 10 years, both major political parties are projecting growing budget surpluses running into the trillions of dollars.

by 9/25/2000 3:49 PM
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Employment outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas announced today that job cuts in the Internet sector accelerated last month. Layoffs in the sector increase 15 percent in August versus July.

In the last 10 months, Internet companies offering consulting, financial, and information services accounted for most of the announced cuts, 30 percent of the total. Retail services were the next largest area of Internet layoffs.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, of the 217 Internet companies announcing job cuts over the last 10 months, 37, or 17 percent, of them failed.

by 9/25/2000 3:42 PM
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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced today that existing home sales rose 9.3 percent in August to an annualized rate of 5.27 million. This number was higher than expected and more than made up for an especially weak July. Analysts had expected an increase of only 4.4 percent.

The increase in existing home sales is attributed to lower interest rates during August. During August, the rate on a conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell below eight percent for the first time since December.

The NAR also announced that the current stock of existing homes for sale fell to a 3.7-month supply from a revised 4.3 months in July.

The surprising strength in existing home sales is not expected to sway Fed watchers, who believe that the Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates the rest of the year.<

by 9/25/2000 12:14 PM
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On Friday, Sprint PCS Group (PCS 31-3/4) dipped to its worst intraday mark since mid-August 1999, as the shares declined by over six percent. The stock has stepped back by 57 percent from its near-term intraday high on July 17 through Friday's close under the pressure of its descending 10-day and 20-day moving averages.

Today, though, the security is in the black by more than three points, or greater than 13 percent, after it was raised to a "buy" from "neutral" status this morning by an analyst at Lehman Brothers Holdings. Despite this climb, PCS remains beneath all of its significant intermediate-term and long-term trendlines.

Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) on this laggard has dropped from a 1.46 reading on Thursday to the current mark of 0.64. This indicates that investors are starting to show more optimism toward PCS, which could serve as a bearish omen if the equity is not able to carry over today's upward momentum. For more details about SOIR, please visit Schaeffer's Daily Sentiment.


by 9/25/2000 12:13 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Anchor Gaming (SLOT 75-3/16) is a maker of slot machines and lottery equipment. The company announced this morning that it will split its shares two for one, and it will purchase 4.6 million shares owned by Chairman Stanley Fulton and members of his family for $66.60 per share.

The stock is up more than five points, or over seven percent, in response to this news. This upswing has carried SLOT back above both its 10-day and 20-day moving averages and placed it within a chip shot of its annual high of 77-1/4 from September 7. Since its mid-March low, the security has added 142 percent to its value, using cohesive support from its uptrending 10-week moving average.

According to information from Zacks Online, there are only four analysts currently covering the equity. Any new positive coverage could give SLOT an extra boost over the short term.


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