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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
European markets were mixed to positive slightly. The German DAX was the laggard losing 0.45% midway through its trading session. Asian markets closed with conviction as they posted terrific gains following the strong showing from the US yesterday. The Japanese Nikkei gained 2.24% and the Hang Seng added 2.82% on the day. Equity markets were trading unchanged in the early goings.

Factory orders due out at 10amEDT and expectations are for down 0.5%. Natural Gas Inventory figures are due out at 10:30amEDT. Tomorrow will deliver plenty of employment data. Lookout for the Unemployment rate for September, Average Hourly Earnings, Change in the Non-Farm Payroll and the Average Weekly Hours. Following the jobs data, the ISM non-manufacturing numbers will be released.

Brokerage Chatter:
Goldman Sachs raised its semiconductor capex projections for 2004 citing an improving outlook for the semi market. Moody's revised its outlook for Flextronics (FLEX:NASD) to negative. HJ Heinz Co(HNZ:NYSE) upgraded at Deutsche to buy from hold.

Nextel(NXTL:NASD) was upped to outperform at Bear Stearns and given a price target of $25. Piper Jaffray downgraded Strayer Education(STRA:NASD) to market perform from outperform on a valuation call. NVIDIA(NVDA:NASD) estimates were cut at Thomas Weisel for 2004 and 2005. Banc of America downgraded Staples(SPLS:NASD) and Office Depot(ODP:NYSE) to neutral from buy. WR Hambrecht upgraded Adobe Systems(ADBE:NASD) to buy/select list from hold. Lehman upgraded Comverse Tech(CMVT:NASD) to overweight from equal weight.

Bank of America raised its numbers for Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) and PeopleSoft(PSFT:NASD) while they lowered the estimates for SAP AG(SAP:NYSE) and Seibel(SEBL:NASD). SG Cowen upgraded InVision(INVN:NASD) to outperform from market perform. Prudential downgraded Honda Motor(HMC:NYSE) to neutral-weight from overweight and cut its price target to $23 from $26.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
The LA Times reports this morning that Altria(MO:NYSE) had reached a settlement on a personal injury case with a child that had suffered burns from a cigarette-fire induced injury. This was the first time in its history that MO had settled a personal injury case such as this. Apparently, the case had been settled in May but had been kept out of the mainstream media until the LA Times broke the story this morning. The article indicated that tobacco companies in general do not settle cigarette fire cases out of fear of opening up a Pandora's box of litigation cases.

USA Today reports that Oracle's(ORCL:NASD) bid for PeopleSoft(PSFT:NASD) may incur some antitrust problems.

NetIQ(NTIQ:NASD) warned for its September quarter citing revenues coming in at $60-63 million vs. prior guidance of $68-72 million.
Helen of Troy(HELE:NASD) beat by $0.06 and raised its guidance for 2004.
AK Steel(AKS:NYSE) warned for its 3rd quarter estimates.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
According to Reuters, North Korea in an attempt to juice up the current nuclear standoff, said for the first time that it has processed spent fuel rods that could be used to make nuclear bombs, but was careful to point out that it will take a responsible course of action by not exporting its atomic capabilities.

Arabic newspaper ASHARQ AL-AWSAT citing medical sources, reported that blood samples from Yasser Arafat are currently being checked by physicians in Jordan following speculation that he had eaten poisoned food.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. State Department notified Congress that the loan guarantees to Israel will be reduced by the Bush administration citing "activities inconsistent" with understandings reached with the U.S. The letter which came from Rep. Henry J. Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, fails to make mention as to whether it was a punishment associated with the expanding settlements in the West Bank, construction of their security fence or some other event not made public.

According to the Washington Post, three separate studies were conducted on women that had received breast implants, and a surprising revelation was revealed that they were three times as likely to commit suicide. The irony was that the researchers were looking for cancer related side effects and instead, found the only consistency among their findings were the rate of suicides associated with the implants.

The NY Times reports Rush Limbaugh resigned last night from ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown following race related remarks he made about how the news media perceives the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Limbaugh commented that, "the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback can do well - black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve." Those comments sparked Democratic presidential hopeful Gen. Wesley K. Clark, to write a letter to ESPN signed by other Democrats and Republicans that called for his firing. McNabb responded by telling AP news yesterday that he wished someone on the show had challenged the race comments. The ratings for the show Sunday NFL Countdown are up 10% from last season and last Sunday's show was its highest rated edition in seven years.

--- --

That Cell Stim-H commercial has me so brainwashed already, I not only noticed myself watching more CNBC, but I almost ordered some of that stuff for Toddo's cats.

Have a profitable day.


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