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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
World markets were firmer today with the clear standout performer coming from Germany. The DAX was trading up 1.42% midway through its session. The Nikkei added 1.02% today while the Hang Seng closed strong posting 2.91% in gains. US equities were poised for a higher opening with a little help from the economic numbers released earlier. Check out Brian Reynolds for more on that.

Lookout at 10amEDT fro the Consumer Confidence report. Estimates are for 79.3. No rate move is expected when the FOMC concludes its meeting at 2:15EDT. Prudential kicks off its Securities Tech Conference this morning. After the bell, we'll get earnings from Intl Rectifier Corp(IRF:NYSE) and Maxim Integrated(MXIM:NASD).

Brokerage Chatter:
Bear Stearns upgraded the Railroad Industry weighting to overweight, individually upping CSX(CSX:NYSE) and Union Pacific Corp(UNP:NYSE). Alternatively, S&P has cut Kansas City Southern's(KSU:NYSE) credit rating to B+ and has its outlook at negative. Wachovia downgraded Duke Energy(DUK:NYSE) to underperform. Morgan Stanley cut Ericsson(ERICY:NASD) to underweight. CSFB downgraded Conagra(CAG:NYSE) to underperform from neutral.

Legg Mason upgraded Safeco(SAFC:NASD) to buy from hold. UBS raised its price target on Adobe(ADBE:NASD) to $48 from $42. RBC Capital initiated coverage of Medimmune(MEDI:NASD) with an outperform rating and $40 target. Accenture(ACN:NYSE) was added to JP Morgan's Focus List.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
The Wall Street Journal reports that Prudential(PRU:NYSE) is close to a deal with Cigna's(CI:NYSE) retirement unit to buy them for $2 billion.

Genentech(DNA:NYSE) and XOMA Ltd(XOMA:NASD) announced they have received FDA approval for Raptiva.

The NYSE announced it has started its own investigation of mutual fund trading abuses, joining probes of the $7 trillion industry by the U.S. SEC and state prosecutors.

R.J. Reynolds(RJR:NYSE) and British American Tobacco have announced they will combine their tobacco businesses for a deal valued at $2.6 billion by combining assets and operations into Reynolds American. Deal will be accretive to RJR.

The World Semi Trade Statistics Group raised the 2003 chips sales estimates from 11.5% to 14.2% and 2004 numbers from 18.4% to 19.4%.

Sony Corp(SNE:NYSE) said it will cut 13% of its workforce over the next three years.

Cummins(CUM:NYSE) reported $0.60 on revenues of $1.63 billion versus first call of $0.67 and $1.63 billion. Company sees their 2003 EPS at the low end of $1.20-$1.40 range.
Chubb(CB:NYSE) reported $1.37, beats first call of $1.25. The company raised its bottom end of guidance as well.
Transocean(RIG:NYSE) reported results in line.
Metro-Gldwn-Myr(MGM:NYSE) beat the street by $0.04
Cooper Cameron(CAM:NYSE) missed estimates and guided the 4th quarter below consensus.
Verizon(VZ:NYSE) beat by $0.05
Biogen(BGEN:NASD) beat by $0.08
Oxford Health(OHP:NYSE) beat by $0.04
Taiwan Semi(TSM:NYSE) beat by $0.01
BP(BP:NYSE) missed by 5 pennies.
Avon Products(AVP:NYSE) beat by a penny and raised its 2003 guidance above consensus.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

According to USA today, arson might have been to blame for the fires that have spread out of control and as of early this morning responsible for the destruction of 1,100 homes, over 500,000 acres, and 15 deaths in Southern California. As a gauge of the current containment of the fire, authorities in the San Bernardino County area said that as of today, only 10% of the fire was contained. Over 10,000 firefighters were reportedly fighting the fire and as of this morning, the dollar cost of the destruction to California was topping $24 million. In related news, Qualcomm Stadium was used as an evacuation center for many as their Monday night football game that was scheduled for the San Diego Chargers game was moved to Tempe, Arizona. Fans in Arizona with no allegiance to either team were given free admission to the game and although there was no official count, all 73,014 tickets were distributed. Five Arizona Cardinal players collected $200,000 in donations for the San Diego Fire Relief Fund at the stadium entrance prior to the game.

The Associate Press has reported that according to a US State Department analysis, Greek security forces are not adequately prepared to counter possible chemical or biological terrorist attacks which could cause mass casualties during the 2004 Olympics.

AP newswires citing an Israeli TV report said yesterday that Israel's national airline, El Al, has installed an anti-missile system on some of its aircraft as an experiment. This comes just days after there was an alleged plot to fire missiles at a plane in Toronto, Canada.

Have a profitable day.


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