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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
World markets were edging lower today as the German DAX had lost 0.33% and most of the major averages in Europe followed suit. With Tokyo on holiday, the Hang Seng traded down 0.25% in quiet trading. US markets were leaning towards a higher open as the US dollar was gaining momentum to the upside.

Heads-up:
Conferences today include Prudential's retail conference and SG Cowen's consumer conference. The economic calendar is blank today but this week we'll get the December inflation reports (import prices on Tuesday, PPI on Wednesday, and CPI on Thursday. Wednesday also brings the Trade Balance data for November. On Thursday we get weekly jobless claims, retail sales for December, and the Philly Fed and Empire State manufacturing surveys for January. Friday delivers November business inventories, December industrial production and capacity utilization and the Michigan consumer sentiment figures.

Brokerage Chatter:
Lehman Brothers raised its numbers for Anheuser-Busch(BUD:NYSE) and Goldman Sachs upped the company to in-line from underperform. CSFB downgraded Merck(MRK:NYSE) to underperform from neutral while they upped Bristol Myers(BMY:NYSE) to neutral. Dresdner cut Adecco(ADO:NYSE) to sell. Lehman raised its numbers for Eli Lilly(LLY:NYSE) and Boston Scientific(BSX:NYSE). eBAY(EBAY:NASD) and Yahoo!(YHOO:NASD) both received positive chatter from Lehman. Bear Stearns took up its 1st quarter revenue estimates for Intel(INTC:NASD).

Bank of America said they expect Intel to guide its capex numbers higher on their conference call this Wednesday. Barrons over the weekend was positive on Walgreens(WAG:NYSE) but made some negative comments for Pacific Sun(PSUN:NASD). Thomas Weisel upgraded Sports Authority(TSA:NYSE) to outperform from peer perform and raised their full year 2004 estimates above consensus. Bank of America upgraded HCA Healthcare(HCA:NYSE) to buy from neutral and raised its price target to $52 from $40. RBC Capital downgrades SBC Comm(SBC:NYSE) to underperform from sector perform.

Janney downgraded Cisco Systems(CSCO:NASD) to hold from buy. Bear Stearns downgraded Autozone(AZN:NYSE) to underperform from peer perform. JP Morgan cut Deutsche Bank(DB:NYSE) to underweight from neutral. Lehman cut Royal Dutch(RD:NYSE) and Shell Transport(SC:NYSE) to equal-weight from overweight. Deutsche Bank downgraded Nabors(NBR:NYSE) to hold from buy, and made Transocean(RIG:NYSE) its Top Pick. Prudential downgraded Alcan(AL:NYSE) to neutral-weight from overweight and downgraded Alcoa(AA:NYSE) to underweight from neutral-weight. Legg Mason initiated coverage of XL Capital(XL:NYSE) with a buy rating and placed a $100 target on the stock. Piper Jaffray raised its estimates on Foundry Networks(FDRY:NASD). FedEx(FDX:NYSE) was upped at Bear Stearns to outperform from peer perform. Bank of America upgrades Guidant(GDT:NYSE) to buy from neutral and upped its price target to $75 from $54. Banc of America also downgraded Trimeris(TRMS:NASD) to neutral from buy and cut its target to $15 from $39.


Financial Headlines:
Stories :

Reuters reported that Japanese Finance Minister Tanigaki warned yesterday that authorities would continue to intervene in the FX market when necessary, adding that any additional weakness in the U.S. dollar was unwarranted.

Reuters reported yesterday Treasury Secretary John Snow said despite disappointing job growth last month, the economy is on an upswing and that will lead to increased employment.

Computer Assoc(CA:NYSE) said it has received a Wells Notice from the SEC.

PeopleSoft(PSFT:NASD) announced a $200 million stock repurchase program.

According to the New York Times, the NASDAQ was expected to announce today some major names that will dual list including Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE), Schwab(SCH:NYSE). American Intl Grp(AIG:NYSE) and Pfizer(PFE:NYSE) have also been contacted. ECNs such as Instinet(INGP:NASD) and Knight Trading(NITE:NASD) could get some positive traction from this. Walgreen(WAG:NYSE) announced its dual listing on NYSE/NASDAQ.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that American meat packers have begun to lay off employees in the wake of the export bans by several significant markets.

Adecco SA(ADO:NYSE), the world's largest temp agency, was much weaker in European trading following its announcement that it would delay releasing its 2003 financial results due to some accounting irregularities.

Bloomberg newswires report that Vodafone(VOD:NYSE) said yesterday it plans to write down approximately $24 billion after the company launches its anticipated third generation services later in the year.

Earnings:
Countrywide(CFC:NYSE) narrowed its 2003 guidance and reaffirmed its forecast for 2004.
Foot Locker(FL:NYSE) raised its 4th quarter guidance.
Juniper Networks(JNPR:NASD) said it had very good business momentum during the quarter and raised its 4th quarter revenue estimate to $188 million from $180 million.
SunTrust Banks(STI:NYSE) beat by $0.02

Around the world in 80 ticks:

Reuters reports that China has its third suspected SARS case since December.

The London Times reported that the UK arrested a man before Christmas suspected of preparing himself for a suicide bombing and who had links to Al Qaeda. The man left notes to his family saying he planned to "martyr" himself and was found with all his body hair shaved completely off, a religious act associated with would-be suicide bombers making themselves "clean" before entering heaven. In related news, The Guardian reports today that French police believe they may have thwarted a chemical or biological attack on France. . Citing an interior ministry official as saying evidence from Islamic militants arrested in the Lyon area last week showed an attack with the botulism or ricin toxins was being prepared.

According to Reuters, Danish troops have reportedly found dozens of mortar rounds buried in Iraq on which chemical weapons tests could possibly show elements of blister gas. However, the Guardian reports that U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair alluded to the fact yesterday that the illusive WMD may not be found in Iraq.

The Washington Post reported that the US government will be forging ahead with the computerized network to track all travelers on US airlines. The government will enforce that all airlines and airline reservation firms submit passenger information. This information will then be used to rate the security risk of each passenger. In addition, the government could start a program allowing for those passengers who volunteer more information to be permitted to move through the security lines with greater ease and timeliness.

USA Today reported that some major employers have banned camera phones on the job amid fears these "high-tech" phones pose serious threats to workers' privacy and company secrets.

Have a profitable day.


Fokker


No positions in stocks mentioned.
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