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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
World markets were off to a better start for the last week in October. The German DAX gained 1.67% and the CAC40 had added 1.16% half way through its trading session. The Japanese Nikkei finished up 1.15% on the day while the Hang Seng closed in slightly positive territory. US markets were modestly stronger ahead of the opening bell.

Heads-up:
Lookout at 10amEDT for the New and Existing homesales. After the closing bell we get earnings reports from Barrick Gold(ABX:NYSE) and Chubb(CB:NYSE). American Express(AXP:NYSE) is due out during the day today as well.

Tomorrow there is an FOMC meeting and a Prudential Technology Conference. Lookout in the morning for the Durable goods and consumer confidence as well as earnings from BP(BP:NYSE), Biogen(BGEN:NASD), and Verizon(VZ:NYSE).

Brokerage Chatter:
Deutsche downgraded Quest Dianostics(DGX:NYSE) to hold from buy. Fulcrum upgraded PeopleSoft(PSFT:NASD) to buy from hold. Comverse Tech(CMVT:NASD) was upgraded to sector outperform from sector perform at CIBC. UBS upped Kohls(KSS:NYSE) to outperform from market perform. JP Morgan upgraded CVS(CVS:NYSE) to overweight from underweight.

Mylan Labs(MYL:NYSE) was downgraded at UBS to market perform from outperform. Mercury Interactive(MERQ:NASD) received some positive chatter from Soundview and RBC as both upped the stock to outperform. Merrill Lynch upgraded Micron Tech(MU:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Wachovia downgraded Extreme Networks(EXTR:NASD) to underperform from market perform. Solomon Brothers initiated coverage on Alcoa(AA:NYSE) with a buy rating and a $38 price target and Alcan(AL:NYSE) with a hold and a $43 price target.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Merger Monday as Bank of America(BAC:NYSE) announced it will acquire FleetBoston(FBF:NYSE) for nearly $47billion or $45 per share of FBF shares. WellPoint Health(WLP:NYSE) and Anthem(ATH:NYSE) agreed to a $16 billion merger. The deal is expected to value WLP shares at $101.06

The Financial Times citing Liper, reported that at least one in four mutual funds is active in market timing trading. In related news, the Wall Street journal reports that the SEC is considering civil charges against Putnam.

AP newswires reported over the weekend that CEO of Russian oil giant Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested on Saturday on charges of fraud and tax evasion. The Financial Times speculates that talks with ExxonMobile(XOM:NYSE) and ChevronTexaco(CVX:NYSE) about acquiring a stake in Yukos have been put on the back burner. Yukos opened down 14% in Russian trading and the Russian Micex Index indicated a 12.6% decline.

According to Bloomberg newswires, Sony(SNE:NYSE) and NTT DoCoMo were set to develop a joint venture that would create smart-card chips allowing their cell phones to be used as electronic wallets and commuter passes.


Earnings:

Intl Paper(IP:NYSE) missed by $0.01
Humana(HUM:NYSE) reported results in line with expectations.
SAFECO(SAFC:NASD) missed by $0.03.
Procter & Gamble(PG:NYSE) beat by a penny.


Around the world in 80 ticks:

The Independent citing a warning issued from U.S. intelligence stated a concern regarding an imminent terror attack occurring in Saudi Arabia, so imminent that led some to feel it could happen as early as today.

According to the Associated Press, California is suffering its deadliest wildfire since 1991 which had killed 25 people and consumed more 3,200 homes. From the Mexican border to the suburbs in northern Los Angeles, more than 800 homes have been destroyed and 13 people have been killed. Authorities say nearly 30,000 homes still remain in danger with more than 7,000 firefighters working furiously to stop the spread of the fire.

Colorado held its version of a blood drive offering a free pint of beer for each pint of blood according AP newswires. Four breweries got into the spirit of things promoting the event and dressing up in Halloween costumes while challenging each other by making the Brewery which collects the least amount of blood get a makeover that includes blood-red dyed hair.

Congratulations to the Florida Marlins that finished off the New York Yankees on Saturday with a stunning 2-0 victory and took the World Series four games to two. Here's to next year.

Have a profitable day.

Fokker

position in bac
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