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The equ directive allows names to be associated with constants. This allows us to make programs much more readable. In a long program, hundreds of constants may need to be used, so assigning meaningful names to the constants meaningful greatly simplifies program development and support.

An added benefit of assigning names to values is that if a name is used in multiple places in the program and a change in the value is necessary, the change need be made in only one place.

If the # sign were omitted in the third statement, i.e.
ldaa GAIN
the processor load whatever it found at that memory address 6 into register A.