Monday PM April 30th, 2007

Offshore Technology Conference showcases latest products, services...Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says manufacturing activity in Texas, northern Louisiana and southern New Mexico grew at modestly slower pace...

The Offshore Technology Conference is underway this week at Reliant Center. The annual gathering is attracting as many as 60,000 professionals in the energy business, from drilling and exploration to production and environmental protection. OTC '07 Chairman Arnis Judzis is with Schlumberger's data and consulting services.

"OTC brings together the best minds and the technologies for the exchange of information. Additionally, with the 12 professional societies that have founded OTC, we bring together those minds in various disciplines." Ed: "What happens at some of these break-out sessions?" "A lot of the sessions deal with technical topics that are very contemporary--for example, the issue of hurricanes, safety, met-ocean and various other things. Some of the other societies also do things such as wells, LNG—topics that are really of interest worldwide." Ed: "Even if you weren't in this industry, the exhibit floor is fascinating." "It is! We've expanded the space to over 520,000 square feet. If you consider the size of an American football field, that's over 13 fields, and there are a lot of exhibitors and many new ones." Ed: "And people are showing the best and the latest of everything." "Yes, the products and what people are showing are all very, very good."

The Offshore Technology Conference continues through Thursday at Reliant Center.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says manufacturing activity in Texas, northern Louisiana and southern New Mexico grew at a modestly slower pace. The Dallas Fed announced the April Production Index moved to 24.3 from 27.2 the month before. The bank's General Activity Index stood at 15.9 from 12.7 in March. Readings above zero indicate positive activity, and the higher the number, the more broad-based the gains. Inflation faced by manufacturers grew. Hiring in the Dallas Fed district grew more slowly in April. Manufacturing in the Dallas Fed district represents a notable portion of total U.S. output and is concentrated in energy production and electronic goods.

Manufacturing activity in the Chicago area was significantly slower this month after showing its biggest-ever one-month jump in March. The National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago says its Index of Manufacturing Activity fell to 52.9 in April, from 61.7 last month. Economists had expected a reading of 54. A reading above 50 indicates a growing economy. The prices paid component of the index, meanwhile, increased--raising concerns that inflation could be on the rise even as economic growth slows. The Chicago survey is watched closely for clues to the nationwide Institute for Supply Management Index on Manufacturing, which comes out Tuesday.

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