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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

All 3 Major Indexes Advanced Today As Crude Oil Got Cheaper and Interest Rate Concerns Abated

All 3 Major Indexes advanced as crude for future delivery got cheaper and the latest Labor Department Consumer Price Index report eased investor concerns about continuing interest rate hikes by The Fed. An estimated 1.62 billion shares were traded on The Big Board today.

The folks @ Cisco Systems are buying Scientific-Atlanta (the folks @ Scientific-Atlanta make TV set-top boxes.) Scientific-Atlanta will therefore be removed from the S + P 500 Index after February 24, 2006, and will be replaced on the index by Barr Pharmaceuticals (Barr is the U.S. #1 producer of birth control pills.

Shares of Barr Pharmaceuticals gained $2.15 to close @ $67.04.

In other phrama' news: according to a recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) study, healthcare spending is growing faster than the overall U.S. economy and will constitute 20% of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by the year 2015. Healthcare spending was 16% of U.S. GDP back in 2004, and it is expected to grow by an average of 7.2% annually over the next 10 years.


Shares of Dow component Boeing gained $1.34 (1.83%) to close @ a record $74.39 in regular trading; the stock then fell by $0.24 in after-hours action this evening. Boeing is the global #2 commercial jet manufacturer.


U.S. homebuilders advanced as worries about banking interest rates waned (demand for mortgages is stronger when interest rates on loans are consumer-friendly.)

Shares of D.R. Horton gained $1.64 to close @ $36.69.

Shares of luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers added $1.72 to close @ $32.49.


The paint industry suffered a setback today: a Rhode Island jury found that Sherwin-Williams and two other companies that used to make lead-based paint are responsible for harming the health of children in the state (lead in children can damage the central nervous system, the kidneys, and the reproductive system, and can even cause coma, convulsions or death @ high levels. Low levels of lead in children can cause problems with brain development, stunted growth and auditory problems.) The lead cleanup bill could top $1 billion.

Shares of Sherwin-Williams Co. fell by $9.37 (17.82%) to close @ $43.20. Sherwin-Williams is the U.S. #1 paint retailer.


Crude oil for future delivery retreated today, causing many energy stocks to decline.

Shares of Valero Energy fell by $0.97 (1.75%) to close @ $54.55 in regular trading; the stock then lost an additional $0.15 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of ConocoPhillips fell by $0.93 (1.48%) to close @ $61.90.

Shares of Sunoco fell by $2.45 (3.16%) to close @ $75.01.


Shares of independent oil and gas exploration company Apache Corp. fell by $2.26 (3.20%%) to close @ $68.46.

Shares of Newfield Exploration fell by $1.67 (3.93%) to close @ $40.87.


Shares of Google fell by $1.10 (0.30%) to close @ $365.49 in regular trading; the stock then lost an additional $0.25 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of Yahoo! gained $0.77 (2.38%) to close @ $33.16.

Shares of Apple Computer gained $2.24 (3.24%) to close @ $71.32 in regular trading; the stock then lost $0.15 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of Shares of Baidu.com gained $3.04 (5.88%) to close @ $54.73 in regular trading; the stock then lost $0.43 in after-hours action.


Shares of Sprint Nextel fell by $1.13 to close @ $23.80 on news that fourth quarter earnings missed analyst estimates. Sprint Nextel f is the U.S. #3 cell phone company.

Shares of CenturyTel Inc. gained $1.56 to close @ $36.39.


Shares of Medtronic fell by $1.27 to close @ $54.30. Medtronic is the global #1 manufacturer of electronic heart devices.


Shares of OfficeMax Inc. gained $2.63 (9.39%) to close @ $30.65. OfficeMax is the U.S. #3 office supplies retailer.


Shares of MetLife Inc. gained $2.06 to close @ $51.98. MetLife is the U.S. #1 life insurance company.


Shares of Wachovia Corp. gained $1.04 to close @ $57.34. Wachovia is the U.S. #4 banking company.

Shares of mortgage giant Fannie Mae gained $1.88 (3.48%) to close @ $55.91.


Shares of eFunds Corp. gained $3.77 (16.74%) to close @ $26.29.

Shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia gained $2.39 (14.49%) to close @ $18.88.


Shares of Herbalife Ltd fell by $4.80 (13.62%) to close @ $30.45.

Shares of CEC Entertainment Inc fell by $4.99 (13.25%) to close @ $32.66.


Today's Numbers:

DJIA: Closed Higher @ 11,137.17 (+68.11)

NASDAQ: Closed Higher @ 2,283.17 (+20.21)

S&P 500: Closed Higher @ 1,292.67 (+9.63)

----------------------------------------------------------

NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed Lower @ $60.75/barrel

New York Spot Gold closed Higher @ $553.90/ounce

Currently, The U.S. Dollar buys
0.8401 Euros
Currently, The Euro buys 1.1904 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (WSJ Prime Rate) is 7.5%


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