The final magic number was 1.10, a slump from 1.16, and that was the book-to-bill ratio that was. Those that waited impatiently for their fix to come around each month will have to look elsewhere for their kicks, but the rest of us will not really miss the old index very much – it was partial, misleading, arcane and prone to sufficient error that the revised figure that came out a month later could be sufficiently different to render nonsense what was written when the original figure was published. The Semiconductor Industry Association will be replacing the index with reports on total shipments of semiconductors worldwide, but these will be much less timely. As for the final number of 1.10 for December, that will presumably now forever remain in the limbo of being provisional, while November’s number was revised up to 1.16, making for a sharp decline in December, where analysts, who seldom got it right, had looked for it to be flat. Sales rose 2.7% over November to $3,520m in December, but orders fell 2.9% to $3,870m. Compared with a year earlier, both orders and sales were lower in December, with orders declining 22.8% and sales off 21.2% on December 1995.