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-99999 is the code to use if you have a missing number (observation).

It sounds like the variables have no names and the 1st row is being used as the variable names.

If you are reading data without specifying the variable names or the data does not have names in the first line, when using the AutoREAD facility or the /NAMES option on the READ command then this is causing SHAZAM to use the 1st line as the variable names.

To read column data it is often easiest to load into the SHAZAM Data Editor and enter the names if they are missing.