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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
European equity markets were trading relatively higher to unchanged today. The US trade balance number came in wider than expected and the jobless data was slightly worse than expectations. Following these economic releases and the pre-market slide taken by US equities, Europe gave back much of its earlier gains. The German DAX and London FTSE entered negative territory leading up to the opening of US equity trading. Asian markets finished the day stronger however, as the Japanese Nikkei gained 1.09% and the Hang Seng posted a gain of 2.14%.

Heads-up:
Natural Gas inventory numbers are due out at 10:30amEDT. After the bell today lookout for earnings reports from Dell Computer(DELL:NASD), BEA Systems(BEAS:NASD), Starbucks(SBUX:NASD), Univision(UVN:NYSE), and Kohl's(KSS:NYSE). Tomorrow more economic data when the government releases the Producer Price Index(PPI), Retail Sales, Industrial Production, Capacity Utilization and the Michigan Confidence number.

Brokerage Chatter:

Merrill Lynch added Waste Management(WMI:NYSE) to its Focus 1 List. Bank of America upgraded the Oilfield Services sector from market weight to overweight and individually named Patterson-UTI Energy(PTEN:NASD), Nabors(NBR:NYSE), BJ Services(BJS:NYSE) and Smith Intl(SII:NYSE) as its top picks. Bear Stearns raised Intel(INTC:NASD) gross margins forecasts for 2004 and took up both revenues and EPS estimates above consensus. Bear raised Intel's price target to $39 from $35 a share.

Credit Suisse First Boston downgraded Georgia Pacific(GP:NYSE) from outperform to underperform and Temple-Inland(TIN:NYSE) to neutral from outperform. Legg Mason upgraded NetScreen(NSCN:NASD) to buy from hold. Dell Computer(DELL:NASD) was cut to hold from buy at Lazard. AG Edwards downgraded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer(MGM:NYSE) to hold from buy. Bear Stearns upgraded Leapfrog(LF:NYSE) to outperform from peer perform. Morgan Stanley upgraded Watson Pharma(WPI:NYSE) to overweight from equal-weight, raised its 2004-05 estimates, and raised its price target to $52 from $47.

Thomas Weisel upgraded Ford Motor(F:NYSE) to outperform from peer perform. Emulex(ELX:NYSE) was upped at RBC Capital to outperform from sector perform and had its price target raised to $33 from $24. Smith Barney raised the price target on Starbucks(SBUX:NASD) to $38 from $34. JP Morgan raised numbers on eBay(EBAY:NASD). Soundview added some positive chatter on EMC Corp,(EMC:NYSE). Morgan Stanley raised its numbers for Agilent(A:NYSE).

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
AP newswire said that Sprint(FON:NYSE) announced that it will be adding TV service on its cell phone plan. Sprint will provide real-time programming from cable networks including CNBC, ABC News, MSNBC, Discovery Channel and the Learning Channel. The service known as MobiTV will become available beginning today and will cost an additional $9.99 per month after the monthly fee for Internet Data service of $15. It is noted that while a regular TV plays at 20 frames per second, the phone service in contrast will play at one or two fames per second meaning it's unable to play full-motion video.

Speaking at a conference in San Francisco last night, Intl Bus. Machines(IBM:NYSE) CEO Palmisano made some positive chatter on the long term industry growth of computers and further said he was optimistic about an increase in computer spending according to Bloomberg newswires.

Earnings:
Applied Materials(AMAT:NASD) reported a penny better on better revenues of $1.22billion versus the street estimates of $1.14billion. Company also raised its guidance for the 1st quarter of next year.
Walmart(WMT:NYSE) reported a penny light of expectations and gave 4th quarter guidance of $0.63-$0.65 versus first call of $0.65.
Target(TGT:NYSE) reported its results in line with expectations.
4 Kids Entertainment(KDE:NYSE) beats by $0.05


Around the world in 80 ticks:

Fox News reported that U.S. forces in Iraq last night launched a planned and coordinated operation codenamed Iron Hammer that targeted pro-Saddam loyalists. Using intelligence collected from the ground, infantry divisions set traps all over Baghdad which were monitored from the air and were activated simultaneously.

BBC reports that the oldest person in the world, Mitoyo Kawate of Japan, passed away today at the very ripe old age of 114. Two weeks ago, Kawate received the designation of being the oldest person in the world before dying of pneumonia in a hospital in Hiroshima.

The Associated Press reports that a former Clarion University student was sentenced yesterday to at least nine months in prison, seven years of probation and ordered to perform community service following her guilty plea of involuntary manslaughter, concealing the death of a child and abuse of a corpse. The lifeless body of an infant birthed from 21 year old Karen Mako was discovered two days after the child was apparently abandoned in a trash bin near a women's dormitory. According to state police, Mako had concealed her pregnancy from everyone including her boyfriend. State police said that Mako confessed that she had given birth in a dorm shower and wrapped what she thought was a dead infant in paper towels and placed the body in a duffel bag. Authorities say that the autopsy showed the child may have suffocated.

USA Today reports that Stephen Cooke of Georgia came up lucky twice in the same lottery drawing. Three winning tickets were announced amounting to $70 million in the Georgia Mega Million lottery jackpot. When Cooke went to cash in his tickets, he discovered he had double purchased the winning numbers on Tuesday's drawing winning him a cash option prize of $26.6 million before taxes according to lottery officials.

Southern California was hit by what meteorologists are calling a freak storm, which dropped over five inches of rain and hail, and forced motorists to abandon their cars at the height of last evening's rush hour. The previous record was reported at 5.9 inches but a meteorologist from the National Weather Service was quick to point out that it was recorded for an entire day, the five inches that fell yesterday took a mere two hours to flood the streets and leave thousands of residents without power.

USA Today reports that the storied football program at Notre Dame is mulling a membership into the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) after 100 years of independence. Although the school is affiliated with the Big East in most of its athletic programs, the ACC is considered the mostly likely move with the Big Ten also receiving contact over the past few weeks. The ACC has recently approved the additions of the Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College football programs.


Have a profitable day.

Fokker


position in wmt, intc
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