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Morningstar Indexes: Weekly Market Report

Week ending Sept.22:  Disappointing business report causes concerns of slowing economy.

Morningstar Indexes, 09/26/2006

With oil prices dropping for the third straight week and wholesale inflation under control, the Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee left rates unchanged. However, a disappointing report of business activity from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia stirred up concerns that the economy may be slowing down too quickly. The Morningstar US Market Index shed 0.51% for the week ending Sept. 22, 2006.

The Morningstar Market Barometer clearly demonstrated investors' flight to quality. The best-performing Morningstar index last week, and so far this year, was the Morningstar Large Value Index, which barely slipped into positive territory with a 0.01% gain. On the other end of the spectrum, the Morningstar Small Growth Index was the worst performer closing the week down 1.9%.
 
Telecommunications stocks continued to be the surprising winner, outpacing all other sectors, with a gain of 25.7% year to date. Last week, big-name large-cap stocks AT&T T, Verizon Communications VZ, and BellSouth BLS added more than 3% after the FCC approved AT&T's purchase of BellSouth. Several large integrated banks also gained on the prospects for an improved interest-rate environment. Bank of America BAC led the pack with 1.9% gain.

Small-growth stocks continue to experience high levels of volatility, especially in the semiconductor industry. Microsemi MSCC, a specialty chipmaker, dropped 15.9% on an analyst downgrade. Wireless services firm InfoSpace INSP plunged 23% after announcing the loss of key client accounts.

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