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MERCK, LILLY, ABBOLEAD PHARMACEUTICALS; COMPOSITE REACHES 1986 HIGH -- AGAIN

Executive Summary

Behind very strong upward moves by Merck (up 8-1/2 to 169-3/4), Lilly (up 7-1/4 to 75-1/2) and Abbott (up 6-3/4 to 85-1/2), the Pharmaceutical Component reached a yearly high for the eighth consecutive week as drug stocks still seem to hold a favored position in the current bull market. Lilly continued to benefit from the "Street's" optimistic analysis last week of the weight loss side effects of the company's new antidepressant, Prozac. Merck's rise came at the expense of Squibb (down 1/4 to 94) when one analyst reported that Merck's new ACE inhibitor, (ITALICS)Vasotec, has begun to cut into Capoten sales growth. Squibb countered that while Capoten's market share may be declining, its sales continue to grow because the ACE market in general is growing. Schering-Plough's (up 3-5/8 to 68-5/8) strong presence in the cough/cold product area helped give the company a boost in the wake of the Contac tampering incidents. SmithKline (up 1-3/4 to 90-1/8), however, also posted a gain. Chart omitted.
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