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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
Europe trading lower again today as the German DAX is the clear laggard dropping 1.04%. Gold traded above $400 an ounce for the first time since 1996 in Europe and Asia trading until the dollar rebounded against the major currencies. Asian markets continued their slide as well. The Nikkei lost 2.85% and the Hang Seng lost 1.28%. US equities looked poised for a rebound in early trading. Housing Starts and Building Permits came in much better than most expected and helped add a slight bid to the US equity futures.

API data will be released at 10:30amEDT this morning. Semi-Book-To-Bill gets released after the close. Tomorrow lookout for Natural Gas Inventory data, Initial Claims, Leading Indicators, and numbers from the Phila Fed. Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE) will issue its earnings after the closing bell today.

Brokerage Chatter:
UBS had raised its numbers on Altera(ALTR:NASD) and Xilinx(XLNX:NASD). Bear Stearns raised its estimates for Home Depot(HD:NYSE) in the 4th quarter from $0.35 to $0.36, raised its 2003 numbers from $1.76 to $1.81, and took up 2004 estimates from $1.98 to $2.03. Best Buy(BBY:NYSE) had its price target raised to $70 at UBS and was reiterated as a Buy. Jabil Circuit(JBL:NYSE) was downgraded at Morgan Stanley to underweight from equal-weight and had its estimates for next fiscal year cut below consensus. Smith Barney downgrades AT&T Wireless(AWE:NYSE) to hold from buy and cut its target to $7.50 from $10. Adolph Coors(RKY:NYSE) was downgraded to reduce from neutral at UBS and had its estimates for the 4th quarter and 2004 cut below consensus.

Raymond James ups Ameritrade(AMTD:NASD) to outperform from market perform. JP Morgan downgraded Ensco(ESV:NYSE) to underweight from neutral. Smith Barney making a positive call on the online advertising and upgraded DoubleClick(DCLK:NASD) to buy from sell, raised its 2004 estimates above consensus, and raised its price target to $12 from $9. UBS upgraded Symantec(SYMC:NASD) to buy from neutral. Smith Barney upped Yahoo(YHOO:NASD) price target to $46 from $43. Bank of America initiated Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE) with a buy rating.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
SoundView Tech(SNDV:NASD) announced that it will be acquired by Charles Schwab(SCH:NYSE) for $15.50 a share in cash.

General Electic(GE:NYSE) announced after the close last night that it would issue an IPO for 30% of its principal life and mortgage insurance operations and renamed Genworth Financial next year.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart(WMT:NYSE) has begun aggressive price cutting measures on its toys by as much as 22%.

According to The Wall Street Journal, AT&T Wireless(AWE:NYSE) is considering a 10% cut to its workforce and is currently in discussions with Convergys(CVG:NYSE), Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE), Wipro Ltd(WIT:NYSE) for outsourcing relationships.

Mutual Fund giant, Fidelity Investments has been included in what the Wall Street Journal is calling a fresh round of subpoenas issued by Massachusetts Regulators that seek additional information on market timing and late trading practices.

Bloomberg newswires announced yesterday that Merck(MRK:NYSE) has announced it has dropped Putnam Investments as its money manger for its retirement program.

The Wall St Journal reported that Citigroup(C:NYSE) has announced plans to expand its business of proprietary trading after the likes of Goldman Sachs(GS:NYSE), Morgan Stanley(MWD:NYSE) and Lehman Brothers(LEH:NYSE) all increased their profits in their respective businesses.

UnitedHealth(UNH:NYSE) boosted its forecast for 2004.
Network Appliance(NTAP:NASD) reported inline results and guided its 3rd quarter in line. The company however said its profit margins could be a concern going forward.
Analog Devices(ADI:NYSE) reported in line results but guided the street higher.
General Electric(GE:NYSE) guided its 2004 estimate outlook down to a range of $1.55 to $1.65. First Call estimates was for $1.65. Company also announced it will increase its quarterly dividend payment.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
Last night, 48 foreign exchange traders were arrested in a sting operation that targeted several Wall Street firms. Reuters reported that the FBI stormed 2 World Financial Center down in the financial district of New York City just after 3pmEDT and according to one agent on the scene, the arrests were over money laundering and securities fraud. NBC had reported that those arrested had led retail investors into thinking they were buying multimillion dollar FX trades, when in fact they could not participate in these types of transactions.

AP newswires cited a U.K. newspaper which claimed that a major security flaw was exposed at Buckingham Palace following the report that one of its undercover reporters used fake references and got a job as a royal servant and worked at the palace when U.S. President George W. Bush arrived yesterday.

According to the Associated Press, a retired worker from Shanghai, China will be tried on subversion charges after he published pro-democratic articles on the internet.

Nearly 70 investigators from the Santa Barbara County, California, Sheriff's Department and the district attorney's office reportedly raided Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch yesterday morning under a search warrant. According to Reuters, officials said that this has been part of an ongoing criminal investigation. One former attorney to the Jackson family noted that this involves an alleged molestation of a 12-year old boy. Authorities said they planned to hold a news conference today.

AP newswires is reporting that Colorado lawmakers are currently studying the possibilities of eliminating the Senior Year in High School and in its place, establishing a full year of preschool. Lawmakers are arguing that this change to the education model would help prepare students for college.

Have a profitable day.


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