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by 6/5/2000 2:36 PM
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Federal Reserve President of Dallas Robert McTeer spoke to the Economic Development Council in Dallas this morning. McTeer gave positive remarks regarding the interest-rate hikes that the Fed has put in place since last June. He said that it is apparent that the six increases totaling 1.75 percent are having the desired effect of slowing the economy. Also, he noted that the recent stock-market correction makes the situation "less dangerous" in respect to the market's contribution to an overheating economy. However, McTeer cautioned against relying too much on Friday's jobs report that showed unexpected weakness in the employment data. Though McTeer is not a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, he has been a proponent of the idea that continued productivity increases may allow the economy to grow at a faster pace than traditional economic theory would suggest.
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by 6/5/2000 2:34 PM
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The Commerce Department released April housing completions data this morning. Although housing completions fell from March, the numbers suggest that they are still growing. Housing completions for April fell 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted 1.668 million units. However, the number is only slightly lower than February's revised annualized completion rate of 1.739, the highest rate of housing completions since May 1987. This April number was two percent higher than April 1999. Most of the increase was found in the two-to-four unit housing market, which increased over 30 percent in April. The number of units under construction was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.031 million units, which is unchanged from March. This suggests that some further slowing in housing completions may be in store in coming months.<
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by 6/5/2000 2:32 PM
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Ariba (ARBA - 77-3/4), which provides Internet-based business-to-business e-commerce solutions, and VeriSign (VRSN - 176-1/8) inked a partnership this morning to jointly market a credit card payment processing platform for online businesses. The proposed agreement calls for ARBA to use VRSNís payment connectivity services to process American Express (AXP - 55-13/16) payments through a deal made between ARBA and AXP back in March. The deal comes at a much-needed juncture for ARBA. The shares have lost 55 percent of their value since hitting an all-time high on March 8. The stock has been fairly stagnant of late, floating between the 55 to 85 marks since early April. Today, though, the equity has pushed ahead by more than 10 percent to move toward the top of this range. The news has spurred much optimism in ARBAís options pit, as the out-of-the-money June 80 call has seen 1,669 contracts change hands this afternoon.<
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by 6/5/2000 2:14 PM
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The May National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM) non-manufacturing index corroborated Thursday's NAPM manufacturing index numbers, suggesting that while the U.S. service sector of the economy is still expanding, growth is slowing slightly. The non-manufacturing business index dropped to 61.5 in May from an April reading of 65. Interestingly, though, the prices index, a gauge of material costs at non-manufacturing companies, fell significantly to 65.5 from April's 71, and down from March's 72, a record high since the inception of the prices index in July 1997. This reading suggests that price pressures are also abating. The non-manufacturing index primarily surveys services firms that make up most of the U.S. economy. A number above 50 denotes expansion, while a reading below 50 signifies contraction.<
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by 6/5/2000 2:10 PM
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With the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3797.6) down 0.41 percent and the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1465.96) lower by 0.76 percent today, 16 of the 35 sector indices are in positive territory. Here are the top four performing indices today: the AMEX Biotechnology Index (BTK - 559.8), up 4.5 percent; the PHLX Gold and Silver Index (XAU - 60.99), up 2.9 percent; the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Products Index (RXP - 886.4), up 1.9 percent; and the GSTI Hardware Index (GHA - 551.56), up 1.5 percent. The four indices showing the most weakness are the PHLX KBW Banking Index (BKX - 864.33), down 3.2 percent; the S&P Insurance Index (IUX - 639.1), down 2.3 percent; the CBOE Internet Index (INX - 619.5), down 2.2 percent; and the PHLX Oil Service Sector Index (OSX - 111.08), down 2.0 percent.<
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