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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
Europe is trading modestly higher with the German Dax a bit of a laggard today. The London FTSE is one of the better index gainers in the region posting a 0.40% gain. The Japanese Nikkei was weaker today finishing down 1.17% while the Hang Seng gained 0.85%. US equities traded mixed in pre-market activity with NASDAQ futures looking slightly higher following some positive earnings announcements.

Heads-up:
After the bell today, lookout for Amgen(AMGN:NASD), Amazon(AMZN:NASD), RF Micro Devices(RFMD:NASD) and Schlumberger Ltd(SLB:NYSE). Looking ahead to tomorrow, expect earnings from Dupont(DD:NYSE), Eastman Kodak(EK:NYSE), JP Morgan(JPM:NYSE), Intl Paper(IP:NYSE), McDonalds(MCD:NYSE), Merck(MRK:NYSE), Pfizer(PFE:NYSE) to name just a handful.

Brokerage Chatter:
UBS upgraded Texas Instruments (TXN:NYSE) to buy from neutral and raised its target to $37 from $26. USB also upped Silicon Labs(SLAB:NASD) to market perform from underperform. S&P upped American Express(AXP:NYSE) outlook to stable. American Intl(AIG:NYSE) was downgraded at Morgan Stanley late in the trading session yesterday to underweight.

Banc of America downgraded Sunoco(SUN:NYSE) to neutral from buy. Goldman Sachs upgraded JC Penny(JCP:NYSE) to in-line from underperform. Southwest Air(LUV:NYSE) was upgraded at Prudential to overweight from neutral-weight. Bear Stearns downgraded Novartis(NVS:NYSE) to peer perform from outperform. Lexmark(LXK:NYSE) was upgraded at Bear Stearns to outperform from peer perform. Wachovia upgraded Verizon(VZ:NYSE) to market perform from underperform.


Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Semi book-to-bill ratio of 0.95 for September up from August's 0.92, its second consecutive month of improvement since July. Bear Stearns feels number was at low end of forecast of 0.95-1.0

The Wall Street Journal reported that Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE) has surpassed Palm(PALM:NASD) in handheld unit shipments in Europe, Middle East, Africa.

Amgen(AMGN:NASD) and Wyeth(WYE:NYSE) announced that the FDA has approved a 50 mg once-weekly dosage of Enbrel(R) for adult patients across all indications, including moderately-to-severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA), active arthritis in patients with psoriatic arthritis and active ankylosing spondylitis.

Glaxo(GSK:NYSE) announced it has terminated its license agreement with Flamel(FLML:NASD)

Best Buy(BBY:NYSE) to pay first-ever cash dividend of $0.40 per share.


Earnings:
Texas Instruments(TXN:NYSE) topped estimates by 7 pennies and raised guidance for the 4th quarter.
AT&T(T:NYSE) beat by $0.05 and reported revenues in line.
Lubrizol(LZ:NYSE) missed by $0.02
Alaska Air(ALK:NYSE) beat the street by $0.37
UPS(UPS:NYSE) beat estimates by 2 pennies and also said its China annual sales could hit $1 billion
Blockbuster(BBI:NYSE) beat by $0.02 but revenues fell shy of estimates.
SBC(SBC:NYSE) comes in light by 2 pennies and revenues were below estimates.
Occidental Pet.(OXY:NYSE) beat by $0.14
Labranche(LAB:NYSE) reported in line with estimates and announced they have suspended its dividends.
Silicon Labs(SLAB:NASD) beat by $0.02 and guided above consensus for the 4th quarter.
Altera(ALTR:NASD) reported results in line.
TASER Intl(TASR:NASD) beat big by 19cents and guided above consensus
Bank One(ONE:NYSE) beat by $0.03
Wells Fargo(WFC:NYSE) came in a penny light of estimates. Revenues, however, beat forecasts.
Charles Schwab(SCH:NYSE) beat by $0.01



Around the world in 80 ticks:
Reuters reports that Iran has agreed today to sign and ratify an agreement calling for tougher inspections of its nuclear sites and suspend its uranium enrichment and processing activities.

Last night the US State Department issued a travel warning which according to Bloomberg newswires, is urging Americans to leave Gaza and to avoid if possible its visits to Israel and the West Bank due to the "ongoing safety and security concerns."

AP newswires report that the coalition forces have captured a senior Taliban commander in central Afghanistan and Afghan officials say the mullah may know of bin Laden's location.

The Associated Press reports that for the first time in history, a man survived a 180 foot waterfall plunge of Niagara Falls yesterday with only the clothes on his back to serve as a cushion.



Have a profitable day.

Fokker

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