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Morningstar Indexes: Weekly Market Report

Week ending March 31:  Losses mostly contained to large-cap stocks.

Morningstar Indexes, 04/04/2006

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The Morningstar US Market Index slid 0.21% for the week ending March 31, as the Fed raised the interest rates by another quarter point and warned there may be more hikes to come.

Although the market was down overall, the losses were largely contained to large-cap stocks, and the Morningstar Large Cap Index dropped 0.62%. Leading the pack was the Morningstar Large Value Index, which declined 1.23% for the week. Pfizer PFE, one of the largest holdings in the index, lost 4.3%. Legal troubles seem to afflict the other big pharma stocks. Merck MRK fell 2.3% after it lost an appeal to deny class action status to ongoing lawsuits surrounding Vioxx. Bristol-Myers Squibb BMY was off by 3.6% after a suit was filed against the firm to delay the generic version of the drug Plavix.

Small-caps stocks continued their spectacular run, adding another 1.34% for the week and ending the first quarter with a healthy gain of 13%. The Morningstar Small Core and Small Growth indexes posted gains of 1.43%. The Manitowoc MTW, a construction equipment supplier, jumped 15% on revised first quarter earnings guidance. Other construction--related companies in the Small Core Index finished the week up sharply. Potlatch PCH, a forest product manufacturer, rose 8.5%, and Genlyte Group GLYT, a lighting fixture manufacturer, was up 8%.

The merger announcement between Lucent Technologies LU and Alcatel ALA fueled speculation of further consolidation within the network equipment manufactures. This helped push several Small Growth Index components such as Nuance NUAN, Sonus Networks SONS, and Foundry Networks FDRY, up 17%, 12%, and 7%, respectively.

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