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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
Europe was trading lower today as the DAX led the region lower. Asian stocks were weaker today as well with Japanese Nikkei losing 0.87% and the Hang Seng down 0.17%. US equities were also poised for a lower start to trading. Little change to the US dollar index this morning as traders will continue to eye the earnings reports that get released this week.

Heads-up:
At 10:00amEDT the government will release the data for December existing home sales. Looking ahead, consumer confidence tomorrow, durable goods orders and an FOMC meeting on Wednesday, the ECI and jobless claims ring in Thursday, and GDP, University of Michigan confidence, and the Chicago Purchasing Manager report will close out the weeks' economic data on Friday.

Highlighting the earnings releases this afternoon include Altera(ALTR:NASD), McDonalds(MCD:NYSE), American Express(AXP:NYSE), Novellus(NVLS:NASD), and Texas Instruments(TXN:NYSE).

Brokerage Chatter:
Schlumberge
r(SLB:NYSE) had its price target and estimates raised at Smith Barney from $56 to $62 and its estimates for 2004 from $1.95 to $2.05 and 2005 from 2.60 to $2.65. A.G. Edwards however, downgraded Schlumberger to hold from buy. Bear Stearns made some positive chatter on Nortel(NT:NYSE). The New York Times gave positive mention to Intl Bus. Machines(IBM:NYSE) while Barron's over the weekend was negative on Cisco(CSCO:NASD). Barron's also made some positive chatter on Lucent Tech(LU:NYSE) and Merck(MRK:NYSE).

Bernstein upped Micron(MU:NYSE) to market perform from underperform and raised its price target to $13 from $9.50. Schwab SoundView upgraded PeopleSoft(PSFT:NASD) to outperform from neutral. CSFB upgraded Time Warner(TWX:NYSE) to outperform from neutral. Banc of America initiated a buy rating for Research In Motion(RIMM:NASD) and placed a $118 target on the stock. Morgan Stanley downgraded Sealed Air(SEE:NYSE) to equal weight from overweight. Lehman downgraded Sprint Corp(FON:NYSE) to underweight from equal weight and lowered its price target to $15 from $18. Bank of America analyst Fitzgerald said a 30% correction could be in the making for the semi cap space as momentum has slowed.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the activities of the Blu-ray group, a group of companies consisting of Phillips(PHG:NYSE), Sony(SNE:NYSE), and Matsushita(MC:NYSE) among others that are attempting to create the next generation of DVD.

Bloomberg newswires report that the Aventis(AVE:NYSE) board has rejected a takover bid from Sanofi .

Sovereign Banc(SOV:NYSE) said it will acquire Seacoast Financial(SCFS:NASD) for $1.1 billion.

Newmont Mining(NEM:NYSE) filed to raise up to $200 million for a possible acquisition and will sell up to another $1 billion in debt and stock.

Earnings:
Schering-Plough(SGP:NYSE) missed by 2 pennies on slightly lighter than expected revenues.
Energizer(ENR:NYSE) topped estimates by $0.22
SAFECO(SAFC:NASD) beat by 22 cents.
Kimberly-Clark(KMB:NYSE) beat by $0.03 and guided its 1st quarter and 2004 in line. The company also increased its dividend.


Around the world in 80 ticks:
BBC news repots that President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai has signed the country's new constitution in law at a ceremony in Kabul today. The constitution signing will lead to elections later in the year.

AP newswires report that in an effort to soothe world concerns over the recent assassination attempts on Pakistan's President Musharaff, he said Saturday that airtight military control over Pakistan's nuclear weapons will keep them safe from terrorists, even if something should happen to him.

BBC news reports that 17 year old Mike Rowe thought it would be fun and put up a web site that added "soft" to the end of his name, mikerowesoft.com. Bill Gates' software company didn't see it that way and offered Rowe $10 to remove the site but Rowe had asked for $10,000. When Rowe refused the offer, Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) and the teen-techie reached a deal that would pay for a new site, all expenses included, and training for his MS certification on its products, an invitation for him and his parents to the main headquarters in Redmond, Washington and the real prize kicker, a new Xbox console. In related news, Bill Gates received honorary knighthood from Britain.

Reuters reported that one of the two boys from Thailand suspected of having the bird flu died last night, three days after an outbreak of the deadly virus was confirmed in the country. The second boy remained in critical condition. Another two people in Thailand are being tested for the disease while officials say the toll could be as high as six. The disease has been reported but not confirmed in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Cambodia.

In a Newsweek poll, Kerry is shown with a slight edge over George Bush should the two face off for the Presidential seat.

Following months of study, scientists concluded that the fossil found near Stonehaven, Scotland is the oldest remains of creature known to have lived on land. The 428 million year old millipede fossil was discovered by amateur fossil hunter and local bus driver Mike Newman.

A woman at New York's LaGuardia Airport accidentally passed through security screening but realized her actions later, alerted authorities and disarmed her arsenal consisting of a stun gun and knife from her purse. Eyewitnesses say the lady's sneakers were kept for further observation however.

Have a profitable day.

Fokker


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