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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
European trading was weaker today with the CAC40 losing over 1% and the German DAX down 0.85% leading into the opening of trading on Wall Street. Asian stocks continued their decline as the Nikkei lost 0.67% and the Hang Seng gave up 0.73% on the day. US equities remained poised for a higher start given the roughly in line economic data released earlier. Check out Brian Reynolds take on the claims and employment cost data for more.

Heads-up:
The Help-Wanted index will be reported at 10amEDT and the minutes from the FOMC meeting will be released at 2pmEDT. Economic reports due tomorrow include the GDP figures, Chain deflator, Michigan Sentiment and the Chicago PMI.

Earnings after the bell include Gateway(GTW:NYSE), Intl Rectifier(IRF:NYSE), Nortel(NT:NYSE), PeopleSoft(PSFT:NASD), and Verisign(VRSN:NASD).

Brokerage Chatter:
Lehman downgraded Ford(F:NYSE) to underweight from equal weight. UBS raised its price target on Affymetrix(AFFX:NASD) to $40 from $31. Jefferies upped MGM Mirage(MGG:NYSE) to buy from a hold. Baxter(BAX:NYSE) was cut to underweight from neutral at JP Morgan. CSFB upped Alaska Air(ALK:NYSE) to outperform from neutral and raised its 2004 EPS forecast to $2.00 from $1.15. JP Morgan downgraded Marsh & McLennan(MMC:NYSE) to underweight from neutral.

AG Edwards upped McDonald's(MCD:NYSE) to buy from hold and placed a $30 price target on the company. WR Hambrecht downgraded Foundry Networks(FDRY:NASD) to hold from buy. Prudential downgraded Williams Cos(WMB:NYSE) to neutral from overweight. Merrill Lynch upgraded JDS Uniphase(JDSU:NASD) to neutral from sell. Lehman downgraded Cooper Cameron(CAM:NYSE) to equal weight from overweight. UBS remained positive on the brokers and increased its estimates and price targets for Bear Stearns(BSC::NYSE), Goldman Sachs(GS:NYSE), Lehman Brothers(LEH:NYSE), Morgan Stanley(MWD:NYSE), and Merrill Lynch(MER:NYSE).


Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Moody's ratings agency has upgraded New York City's debt outlook to stable from negative adding that Mayor Michael Bloomberg had resolved "one of the most serious fiscal challenges (the city) has faced in decades."

Bloomberg newswires reports that Forest Labs(FRX:NYSE) has received a subpoena and has been asked to turn over documents related to its depression treating drug, Celexa.

Quest Software(QSFT:NASD) announced it will acquire Aelita Software for $115 million.

Earnings:
Sears(S:NYSE) reported 26 cents better than consensus estimates on revenues of $12.25 billion versus $11.98 billion. The company guided lower however for 2004 and said it will phase out its pension plan, eliminate most stock options, and reduce bonuses in its efforts to compete better with its rivals.
Boeing(BA:NYSE) beat by $0.04
Bristol-Myers(BMY:NYSE) topped revenues estimates but missed by $0.03 and guided 2004 EPS estimates below consensus.
Exxon Mobil(XOM:NYSE) beat by 10 cents.
UPS(UPS:NYSE) beat by a penny.
Guidant(GDT:NYSE) beat by $0.05
Taiwan Semi(TSM:NYSE) topped EPS by $0.01.
Eli Lilly(LLY:NYSE) reported its EPS and guidance in line.
Halliburton(HAL:NYSE) beat by $0.02 on stronger revenues of $5.46 billion versus the $4.21 billion consensus.
Verizon(VZ:NYSE) beat by $0.02.
MedImmune(MEDI:NASD) missed by a penny and missed on revenues.
Dow Chemical(DOW:NYSE) beat by $0.21
Jetblue Airways(JBLU:NASD) reported in line.
STMicroelectronics(STM:NYSE) reported in line and guided its 1st quarter revenues higher.
Pulte Homes(PHM:NYSE) beat by $0.07.
Ariba(ARBA:NASD) reported its results in line with expectations.
Veritas Software(VRTS:NASD) reported in line EPS, guides Q1 EPS below consensus
Ask Jeeves(ASKJ:NASD) beat by $0.03 and guided its 1st quarter and 2004 higher.
Foundry Networks(FDRY:NASD) beat by $0.01
LSI Logic(LSI:NYSE) beat by $0.02.
JDS Uniphase(JDSU:NASD) beat by a penny.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

Israel went over a month without a deadly explosion within its borders until today when a homicide bomber blew himself up on a crowded Israeli bus. Reuters reported that at least 10 people have been killed with numerous more injured. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade has claimed responsibility for the act.

BBC News reports that the self-proclaimed Godfather of Soul, James Brown was back in cuffs last night after he was arrested for assaulting his 33 year old wife, Tomi Mae Brown. Brown will remain in jail until his bond hearing and was charged with criminal domestic violence.

According to anti-virus firms, the most recent email virus outbreak, dubbed Mydoom, has morphed into the largest virus outbreak ever. At one stage of the virus, over 30% of all email traffic was made up of Mydoom. The virus which began its attack on Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) and SCO software has been said to only infect MS Windows applications but can also spread through your computer system via file-sharing networks such as Kazaa.



Have a profitable day.

Fokker


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