The Fokker Chronicles
Europe was trading to the higher side before the US equity open in New York. The CAC40 was the clear standout posting a 0.80% gain midway through its session. The Japanese Nikkei lost more ground today after it finished down 1.67%. US equity futures were trying to find their way early this morning following a host of economic news on the tape. The PPI which many economists cited as a non event due to seasonal quirks in the data, reported a much higher number than the survey. Retail sales showed a slight down tick in the revisions and came in slightly below estimates for October. Treasuries have regained some lost ground following the numbers but remain off its highs of the session. The US dollar also regained some lost ground since earlier this morning and although it was trading well off its lows, was still in negative territory leading up to the US equity opening.
Various federal reserve members will be speaking today most of which are coming from the International Research Forum on Monetary Policy conference in Washington, DC. Greenspan was due to issue some opening remarks around 9:00 am EDT this morning. Look out at 9:15amEDT for Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization. University of Michigan Confidence gets released at 9:50amEDT. Next week the highlights from the earnings front include Lowes(LOW:NYSE), Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE) and Disney(DIS:NYSE).
Credit Suisse First Boston raised its price target on Dell Computer(DELL:NASD) to $43.50 from $36 a share. Bear Stearns cut its rating for Cerner(CERN:NASD) and ChevronTexaco(CVX:NYSE) to peer perform from outperform. Bank of America downgraded Ventas(VTR:NYSE) to neutral from buy. JP Morgan added Kinder Morgan(KMI:NYSE) to their Focus List and placed a $63 price target on the stock. Merrill Lynch upgraded CNA Financial(CAN:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Wal-Mart(WMT:NYSE) was cut to market perform at Piper Jaffray. Credit Suisse First Boston upgraded Storage Tech(STK:NYSE) to outperform from neutral and raised its price target to $30 from $25.
Cigna(CI:NYSE) received some positive chatter out of Barron's Online and was cited as a turnaround story with a price target up near $80 a share. However, the article gave a slight caveat that this isn't a sure thing for the stock and if it returned to the mid $40's, could be a potential takeover target. UBS upgraded JDA Software(JDASD:NASD) to buy from neutral. Electronic Arts(ERTS:NASD) was downgraded at Bank of America from a buy to a neutral.
AMG data showed net inflows of $3.5 billion into equity funds. The weekly average of the past four weeks is the best rate since May of 2001.
Chicago Mercantile(CME:NYSE) announced it will be offering 2.06 million shares priced at $67.00.
Dell Computer(DELL:NASD) reported its EPS inline with the street and its revenues were slightly ahead of expectations. The EPS guidance for the January quarter was in line on slightly better reveues. PC volumes may have disappointed some as it came in at +22% versus guidance of +25%.
BEA Systems(BEAS:NASD) reported EPS and overall revenues in line but licenses fell slightly short of estimates.
Kohl's(KSS:NYSE) - reported EPS of $0.35, in line with reduced guidance provided by last week's October sales.
Starbucks(SBUX:NASD) reported in-line 4th quarter results and reaffirmed its 2004 forecast.
Univision(UVN:NYSE) reported $0.16 on revenues of $321 million versus first call of $0.13 and $309 million.
Around the world in 80 ticks:
AP newswires report that North Korea chastised South Korea today for its plan to deploy U.S. missiles near the border and called it part of a U.S. plot to trigger a "nuclear holocaust" on the peninsula.
AP newswires report that officials that have been investigating the outbreak of hepatitis A in western Pennsylvania are still unsure as to its cause. The amount of people contaminated with the virus rose to 410. The Mexican restaurant chain that owned the establishment said it was taking extreme measures and as a precaution, was eliminating its green onions from every restaurant.
BBC news reports that the main opposition party in Germany voted today to expel one of its parliamentarians, Martin Hohmann, from its group after a speech he gave in October but only released this week, had been widely criticized as anti-Semitic. Hohmann had not only blamed the Jewish people for crimes which he said they orchestrated during the Russian revolution of 1917, but made comparisons with their behavior to that of the Jewish Holocaust of World War II. Although Hohmann issued an apology, a move is currently underway to completely remove Mr. Hohmann from the CDU party.
Reuters reports that authorities arrested two airport cargo handlers at John F. Kennedy airport after they allegedly stole a $1.5 million painting by renowned British artist and grandson of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, Lucian Freud. His painting the "Painter's Garden" was stolen on Tuesday from a United Airlines flight from London and was headed to an art gallery in Manhattan.
Have a profitable day.
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