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Keeping track ...

Fund flows

mutual-fund investors jumped ship in August, pulling money out of mutual finds as the global-currency crisis spread. But they're back, pumping billions into funds and driving stocks to last week's record highs.

But a record number of US workers may not share the enthusiasm. Layoffs last month reached 103,166, says Challenger, Gray & Christmas, more than double November's level. For 1998, layoffs totalled 677,795, the most since 1989.

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But economists call such turnover normal, and the unemployment rate fell in December to 4.3 percent. Employment for the month grew at the year's fastest rate.

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