WASHINGTON (AP) _ Psst, there was no news on the Supreme Court retirement front Friday.

Rumors and speculation in recent weeks had reached great heights _ and even found their way into print _ that Justice John Paul Stevens, 77, would announce his retirement as the court ended its 1997-98 term Friday. He did not.

``It's become an annual June ritual, usually centering on the oldest or most senior justice,'' court spokeswoman Toni House said. ``This year, the speculation seemed particularly frenzied.''