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by 10/3/2000 10:04 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
As a follow-up to Friday's Market Observation on the S&P Insurance Index (IUX – 777.3), the index is not participating in this morning's broad-market rally, falling by just over 10 points. This decline comes after the IUX surged 12 points higher on Monday to notch an all-time intraday best.

Stocks leading the IUX lower so far today include Torchmark (TMK – 28-5/8), down 3.1 percent; Cincinnati Financial (CINF – 34-7/8), down 2.8 percent; Progressive (PGR – 83-9/16), down 2.5 percent; and Safeco (SAFC – 26-1/8), down 2.5 percent.


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by 10/3/2000 9:30 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
With the PHLX Semiconductor Index (SOX – 833.3) gravitating toward its May lows and the psychologically significant 800 level, figures were released this morning that showed semiconductor sales rose 52.7 percent in August over the year-ago number. The Semiconductor Industry Association said that it continues to see strong growth for chips used in Internet, telecommunications, and consumer applications.
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by 10/2/2000 4:56 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
The PHLX Semiconductor Index (SOX - 833.3), an index of 16 semiconductor chip and equipment manufacturers, closed lower as technology stocks continue to suffer weakness. Amid the sector's decline, the North American semiconductor equipment industry recently announced a very strong August book-to-bill ratio. This ratio compares the three-month moving average of the booked new orders to the three-month moving average of shipments sent. The book-to-bill was reported at 1.24, indicating that $124 in orders were received for every $100 of products shipped. Bookings (new orders) posted a rise of 3.6 percent over July, topping the three-billion mark for the first time. This lifted the three-month average of bookings more than four percent higher than July and more than 93 percent higher than August 1999. The North American semiconductor equipment industry has now seen 18 consecutive months of year-over-year growth.

On a technical basis, the SOX fell today to the 830 level, the site of a late-May low. If this level fails to hold as support, the round-number 800 level is the next area of support below.
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by 10/2/2000 4:24 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
August's construction spending figures suggest that this once red-hot sector of the economy continues to remain subdued. Construction spending rose only a modest 1.4 percent in August, after a number of monthly declines. The rise to an annual rate of $794.5 billion followed last month's downwardly revised 1.9-percent drop, the fourth consecutive decline after seven months of flat or higher readings. This month's figure was significant, because the modest rise helps to confirm that last month's decline may not have been a mere pause in the robust housing sector and that the Fed's interest-rate increases have begun to have an effect. Housing does remain strong, however, with construction spending rising six percent over first eight months of the year. <
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by 10/2/2000 4:03 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
The September National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM) business index was something of a surprise to market watchers. The index edged up slightly, rising to 49.9 from August's 49.5, indicating a continuation of the slight slowing in U.S. manufacturing activity over the past few months. The September reading corresponds to an annualized Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.7 percent, much lower than the past three quarters and very close to the Fed's desired moderate growth rate. The prices paid index rose only slightly to 58.1 from August's 56.2.

What the numbers suggest is that not only have the Fed rate increases of the past year slowed the economy, the threat of inflation in the form of much higher prices does not yet appear to exist. <
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