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Chip Industry Group Says Slump's Over; Conexant Sees Strong Results

The

Semiconductor Industry Association

issued a report saying the worldwide semiconductor market is expected to grow 12.1% this year, reaching sales of $140.8 billion. The group said the industry's slump is officially over.

Maybe so.

Conexant Systems

(CNXT) - Get VanEck Vectors ChinaAMC SME-ChiNext ETF Report

, which was spun off from

Rockwell

(ROK) - Get Rockwell Automation, Inc. Report

last year, said it sees third-quarter earnings significantly exceeding the 11-analyst

First Call

forecast of 11 cents a share vs. the year-ago 8 cents. The company attributed the news to strong demand for products from the wireless, network access and personal imaging sectors.

In other postclose news:

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Owens Corning

(OWC)

said it was exploring the possible sale of its

Falcon Foam

business, which has about 380 employees and annual sales of about $65 million.

VWR Scientific Products

(VWRX)

said a unit of

Merck KgaG

, which isn't related to

Merck

(MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report

, will buy the remaining 51% of the company it doesn't already own for $37 a share.

Offerings and stock actions

Merrill Lynch

priced

Pantry's

(PTRY:Nasdaq) 6.25 million-share IPO low-end at $13 a share. The price range for the offering was lowered to $13 to $15 from $15 to $17. The company is the third-largest independently operated convenience store chain in the nation.

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Miscellany

Janet Yellen

, chairwoman of the White House

Council of Economic Advisers

, announced plans to resign. Martin Baily, a former member of the council currently working for the consulting firm

McKinsey

, was reported as a likely successor.

A

Food and Drug Administration

panel supported new uses for two

Alza

(AZA)

drugs, one for ovarian cancer and another to fight a severe side effect of radiation treatment. The panel endorsed

Ethyol

for preventing salivary gland damage during radiation and

Doxil

for helping ovarian cancer patients who have not responded well to initial therapies. The FDA already has approved both drugs for other cancer uses.

Hyperion 1999 Term Trust

(HTT)

said it would liquidate itself by Nov. 30. A liquidating dividend equal to the net asset value of the Trust's shares will be paid to shareholders of record as of that date.

IMS Health

(RX)

, which tracks how many drug prescriptions are filled, said Merck's new arthritis and pain drug

Vioxx

had 4,797 prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. during its first 10 days in the market.

Raychem

(RYC)

announced plans to slash about 300 jobs worldwide and record a fourth-quarter charge of $20 million to $24 million as part of a restructuring program. The electronic components maker also will relocate some North American manufacturing operations to lower-cost sites. Savings are expected to offset restructuring costs within 12 months.

In other restructuring news,

U.S.A. Floral Products

(ROSI)

said it reduced its North American workforce by about 150 people as part of its integration plan. The company expects to save $4 million annually from the cuts. In November, the company said it would integrate certain warehouse and distribution facilities at its Import and Bouquet operations in Miami.