Search engine keyword prices in May 2005 dropped 31 cents from April 2005 level, owing primarily to the drop in the mortgage keyword sector, Fathom Online says. Automotive category, however, gained 7%, moving from $1.40 to $1.50 on average. Since August 2004 when Fathom Online initiated its tracking, keyword prices have risen on average 2.6% monthly. The Finance-Mortgage vertical, where prices had risen 100% from September 2004 through April 2005, pulled back 30% following the Fed's latest rise in interest rates. Finance-Investing vertical dropped 11% from $2.03 to $1.81 as volatility in the stock market since the beginning of 2005 was mirrored by ups and downs in the prices its advertisers paid for keywords.