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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
Europe was rebounding today as the German DAX led the region higher posting a 0.83% gain. The Japanese Nikkei advanced on its session to close up 1.13% after it broke the 10,000 level yesterday. US equities were poised for a higher opening today as the dollar hovered around its lows of the session today. Check out Brian Reynolds piece for more on the CPI data released earlier.

Today, Lehman will host its 2003 Semi and Computer System Conference. Merrill Lynch has its Banking and Financial Services Conference. After the bell today, lookout for Analog Devices(ADI:NYSE) and Network Appliance(NTAP:NASD). Tomorrow, earnings from Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE) paint the tape. CPI today was essentially in-line with expectations, the NAHB Housing Market Index will get released at 1pmEDT. Tomorrow, the government delivers the data for Housing Starts and Building Permits.

Brokerage Chatter:
Banc of America initiated coverage of LM Ericsson(ERICY:NASD) with a sell rating and $13 target. Toy's R Us(TOY:NYSE) had its S&P credit rating revised down to negative from stable. Prudential downgraded El Paso(EP:NYSE) to neutral-weight from overweight and cut its target to $7 from $9. UBS upgraded SAFECO(SAFC:NASD) to buy from neutral and raised its price target to $45 from $38. Prudential is out positive today on Teradyne(TER:NYSE) and has upgraded the stock to overweight from neutral-weight, raised its 2004 estimate above the consensus took up its price target to $30 from $19. Thomas Weisel initiated coverage on Corning(GLW:NYSE) with an outperform rating. Deutsche downgraded MedImmune(MEDI:NASD) to sell from hold and cut its target to $15 from $31 following the company's lowered guidance on its flu-mist product. Merrill Lynch upgraded General Electric(GE:NYSE) to buy from neutral.

Sycamore(SCMR:NASD) and Ciena(CIEN:NASD) were upped to outperform at Thomas Weisel. Smith Barney raised the price target on Lucent(LU:NYSE) to $3.25 from $2.50. Bank of America upped BEA Systems(BEAS:NASD) to neutral from sell and raised the price target for Agilent(A:NYSE) to $35 from $25.
Intel(INTC:NASD) received some positive chatter out of Bear Stearns and cited the company as well positioned to benefit from a pick-up in IT spending in the corporate sector.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Bloomberg newswires report that Cigna(CI:NYSE) has announced the long anticipated sale of its retirement business to Prudential(PRU:NYSE) for $2.1 billion.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the feds are probing the securities industry further including Citigroup(C:NYSE), Morgan Stanley(MWD:NYSE) and Freddie Mac(FRE:NYSE) to see if Freddie was helped in its accounting chicanery. According to the article, this serves as a signal that the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) is taking its investigation into the role of Wall Street Firms more seriously than previously believed.

Home Depot(HD:NYSE) beat the street by $0.04 and raised its full year EPS growth outlook.
Agilent(A:NYSE) beat by $0.10 and guided street estimates in line.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
Ahead of President Bush's visit to London today, police and protesters were getting themselves prepared for the big arrival. The BBC reported that nearly half of London's police force along with 250 American armed secret service agents will be guarding Bush. It was reported that mobile phones might also be blocked from use for fear that they could be used to trigger a bomb. AP newswires reported that a poll was published today in the Guardian newspaper that showed more Brits welcomed the US President's visit than the number who opposed it. MSNBC reported however, that nearly 100,000 protestors are expected to give Bush a serious taste of European anger over the war in Iraq.

The Washington Post reported that John Allen Muhammad, one of two men charged in last year's sniper shootings in the Washington area, was convicted of capital murder yesterday. Muhammad now faces the death penalty or life in prison.

The Washington Times reports that in a show of commitment yesterday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told the South Korean government that the US remains firm in stance on defending them from the North and would use its nuclear force if necessary.

According to Reuters, the flu outbreaks have gotten off to an early start this year and in some parts of the country are growing stronger. Experts say this is months ahead of the typical seasonal peaks of the virus and further noted that this year's vaccine does not exactly match the strain doctors are seeing so far. The CDC warned that this flu season could be worse than usual, meaning that more than 20 percent of the U.S. population could get infected, kill about 36,000 Americans and hospitalize 114,000, the seasonal norm. Residents in Texas and Colorado have so far seen the largest outbreaks. Most of the country has had only sporadic flu infections.

Happy Birthday to Mickey Mouse who will be celebrating his 75th birthday today. In commemoration of the anniversary, the US Postal Service will be starting a stamp program featuring Mickey among other Disney characters. Also, seventy five 6-feet tall, 700-pound statues will be unveiled and auctioned off for charity following a brief stint in Disney World and a US tour next year. Where will we all be when Hoofy turns 75? Not sure I want know.

Have a profitable day.


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