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by 8/31/2000 3:14 PM
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According to First Call/Thomson Financial, 487, or 97 percent, of the S&P 500 members have reported earnings for the June quarter. With the current earnings season essentially at an end, 30 percent of the reports have been positive surprises, while only four percent have reported negative surprises. Earnings for the quarter came in 21.9 percent ahead of last year's second quarter; 77 percent of these companies are above year-ago figures, while only 21 percent are below. The best-performing industry groups in terms of percentage above analysts' estimates are: utilities, 13 percent; energy, seven percent; and technology, which has bested estimates by six percent. The communications industry is the only underperforming sector, missing analysts' expectations by an average of one percent.
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by 8/31/2000 3:05 PM
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The Conference Board released its July help wanted index today and the results suggest that the tight labor market is continuing. The index rose to 82 from June's 80. The July reading matches May's number, but is lower than the 86 reading from July 1999. In a sign that a peak in hiring may be at hand, the Conference Board said that help wanted advertising has fallen in nearly all regions of the U.S. over the past three months.
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by 8/31/2000 10:29 AM
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It appears that Eli Lilly (LLY 73-3/4) is taking steps to improve its product line after announcing three weeks ago that sales would dramatically decline after the generic drug maker, Barr Laboratories (BRL 73), entered the Prozac market. Since Prozac is responsible for about 25 percent of LLY's revenue, it is essential for them to expand their drug line. Millennium Pharmaceuticals (MLNM - 142) today announced it has discovered a potential new drug target for treating cardiovascular disease. Together, MLNM and LLY, MLNM's partner in heart failure research, will pursue the development of potential drugs to treat congestive heart failure. So far this morning, LLY is down about 0.6 percent, while MLNM has soared over 10 percent higher.<
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by 8/30/2000 5:28 PM
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According to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, the Federal Reserve's inaction at its last meeting, coupled with falling interest rates, has caused mortgage refinancing to jump.

The purchase index rose 1.7 percent in the week ended August 25 to a seasonally adjusted 298.6, which is up from last week's revised 294.4. The purchase index was slightly lower than the four-week-ago figure of 306.6 and above the year-ago reading of 289.5.

The refinance index jumped 3.0 percent from last week's seasonally adjusted 383.6 to 395.0. The refinance index is higher than the four-week-ago figure of 346.0, but is significantly lower than the year-ago figure of 456.4.
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by 8/30/2000 4:42 PM
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The New York Stock Exchange announced yesterday that its average daily trading volume in the first six months of the year was 1.03 billion shares versus 801 million shares in the comparable year-ago period. Average daily volume peaked in the first quarter. In fact, the 20-day moving average of the average daily volume, an approximate rolling one-month period, made its all-time high of 1.15 billion shares in mid-March. With the Labor Day holiday on the horizon, today's volume reached only 817 billion shares. The current 20-day moving average for NYSE average daily volume stands at about 860 million shares.
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