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by 9/29/2000 2:59 PM
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The University of Michigan's September consumer sentiment index showed a decrease to 106.8 from August's month-end reading of 107.3 and January's all-time high of 112.0. The university's index for consumer expectations fell to 103.4 from 104.0 in August, while the reading on the current conditions index for September fell to 112.0 from 112.4.

These numbers indicate that consumers continue to be optimistic about the economy, though not so much as in the past few months. It seems that some doubt continues about the expectations for the next few months as evidenced by the divergence between the relatively high current conditions and the somewhat lower expectations subindices. <
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by 9/29/2000 1:40 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
The PHLX Utility Index (UTY – 377.25) is one of the top performing sector indices amid today's broad downswing, as investor seek a safe haven. Since a near-term low on June 20, the UTY has appreciated by 34 percent. Today's move takes the index within striking distance of its all-time high of 379.5 on September 13.

Leading the UTY higher are Duke Energy (DUK – 86-11/16), Reliant Energy (REI – 46-9/16), FPL Group (FPL – 66-5/16), Public Service Enterprise Group (PEG – 45-5/16), Entergy (ETR – 37-3/8), and Dominion Resources (D – 58-11/16).
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by 9/29/2000 1:22 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
UAL Corp. (UAL – 41-3/4) is the parent company of United Airlines. This morning before the opening bell, the firm revealed that it will suffer a third-quarter loss and possibly a loss for the fourth quarter as well. This is a result of last month's pilot strike, which caused thousands of flights to be canceled. Soaring crude oil prices have also negatively affected the shares.

Shortly after the firm's announcement, Merrill Lynch reduced its rating on the shares from a "long-term buy" to a "long-term accumulate." UAL has tumbled more than five percent, recording a new 4-1/2 year low at 40-1/4.

Other major airline equities are falling in sympathy with their peer: Delta Air Lines (DAL – 43-3/4) has shed over five percent, U.S. Airways (U – 30-3/8) is down 4.7 percent, Northwest Airlines (NWAC – 25-7/8) is in the red by nearly four percent, and AMR Corp. (AMR – 32-7/8) has recorded a five-percent loss. The AMEX Airline Index (XAL – 140.43) is trading 3.7 percent lower in early-afternoon activity. <
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by 9/29/2000 1:11 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Boeing's (BA – 62-1/4) recent rally experienced a flight delay this morning. The stock is off over three percent this afternoon on news that its chief rival Airbus Industries received an order for 10 jets from Singapore Airlines. Today's decline has taken the shares down to test their 10-day moving average.

In spite of the equity's impressive strength of late, short interest on BA surged 138.6 percent from mid-August to mid-September to reach 13.7 million shares, its highest level ever. Such pessimism suggests that BA could continue to gain altitude over the near term. <
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by 9/29/2000 12:21 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
CapRock Communications (CPRK – 5-1/8) maintains a fiber-optic network that will ultimately reach from Phoenix, Arizona to New Orleans, Louisiana. The network provides long-distance and local telephone service, as well as Internet access, to small and mid-sized businesses in the region. This year has been quite rocky for the security, as it has surrendered over 90 percent of its value since mid-February. This week, CPRK has struggled with technical resistance in the form of its overhead 10-week moving average.

Today, CPRK is seeing very unusual activity in its options pits, as 2,105 options have changed hands on the December 5 call. Only 173 contracts resided at this at-the-money strike before today, suggesting that nearly all of today's volume should translate into new open interest on Monday. A number of large and mid-sized blocks have traded throughout the session so far today, making this the most-active call on the PHLX. <
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