The Fokker Chronicles
Europe was just off its highs of its session following better than expected US GDP data. The Japanese Nikkei came back from its holiday on Monday and posted a 1.09% gain. The Hang Seng followed suit and finished up 1.35%. US equities were poised for a higher opening to trading today but were off their best levels of the premarket session following positive data from the government. Check out Brian Reynolds for more on the GDP number released earlier. The US dollar gave back its earlier gains and was trading in negative territory prior to the opening of equity trading in New York.
Earnings calendar remains light during Turkey week but the economic data continues to flow. Lookout at 10amEDT for the Consumer Confidence and Existing Home Sales figures. Heading into the home stretch of Thanksgiving, the government will serve a large portion of data on our plates. Tomorrow we'll review data on Personal Income and Spending, Durable Goods Orders, Initial Jobless Claims, Continuing claims, University of Michigan Confidence, New Home Sales, Chicago Purchasing Mangers, and the Fed's Beige Book.
Lookout for a Medicare bill to be passed today which according to the Washington Post, is expected to bring the most expansive revisions to the current program in over 38 years - a political victory for President Bush. The voting is set to begin at 9:15amEDT creating a $400 billion revision benefiting nearly 40 million elderly and disabled Americans.
CS First Boston cut its 2004 earnings forecast on Merck(MRK:NYSE) from $3.20 to $3.14 a share. JP Morgan upgraded Dana Corp.(DCN:NYSE) to overweight from neutral and raised its 2004-05 estimates above consensus. UBS upped Providian Financial(PVN:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Waste Mgmt(WMI:NYSE) was upgraded at JP Morgan to overweight from neutral. Merrill Lynch downgraded UST Inc(UST:NYSE) to neutral from buy. Nike(NKE:NYSE) upgraded at Merrill Lynch to buy from neutral. UBS downgraded Washington Mutual(WM:NYSE) to neutral from buy, however raised its target for the company from $49 to $51 a share.
Thomas Weisel upped ISTA Pharm(ISTA:NASD) to outperform from peer perform and placed a $16 price target on the stock. CIBC downgraded Family Dollar Stores(FDO:NYSE) to Sector Perform from Sector Outperform. JP Morgan changed its ratings on the brokers and asset managers this morning. Individually, they raised Goldman Sachs(GS:NYTSE) to overweight from neutral and upped Morgan Stanley(MWD:NYSE) to neutral from underweight. JP Morgan however downgraded Lehman Brothers(LEH:NYSE) and T.Rowe Price(TROW:NASD) to neutral from overweight and cut Janus(JNS:NYSE) to underweight from neutral.
Raymond James upgraded Semtech(SMTC:NASD) to outperform from market perform. Lattice Semi(LSCC:NASD) was upped at JP Morgan from neutral to overweight. JP Morgan also upgraded Viacom(VIA.B:NYSE) to overweight from neutral. Merrill Lynch upgraded Xerox(XRX:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Credit Suisse First Boston made some positive chatter on Take-Two(TTWO:NASD) and thinks the recent 20% decline has created a buying opportunity for the shares. First Boston reduced its 2004 estimates for Schering-Plough(SGP:NYSE) to $0.11 from $0.32.
Independence Community Bank Corp.(ICBC:NASD) announced the acquisition of Staten Island Bancorp(SIB:NYSE) for $1.5 billion in stock and cash.
Washington Mutual(WM:NYSE) announced that it will sell its finance unit to Citigroup(C:NYSE) for $1.25 billion cash.
Juniper Networks(JNPR:NASD) filed a $1 billion debt and equity shelf.
HJ Heinz Co(HNZ:NYSE) reported its EPS in line and guided its revenues below consensus.
Deere & Co(DE:NYSE) beat by $0.10
Around the world in 80 ticks:
A Turkish court charged nine people today with suspicion of involvement in the suicide attacks that killed 30 people at the British consulate and the headquarters of British-based HSBC bank in Istanbul. The Prime Minister of Turkey told reporters following the trial, that it was wrong to link terrorism with the Islamic faith.
Reuters reported yesterday that two Muslim men from Oregon who confessed to attempting to help Al Qaeda fight U.S. forces in Afghanistan were sentenced to 18 years in prison. The judge referred to them as "first-class traitors" that insulted the Muslim faith by their actions. The two men called themselves victims of terrorism, and accused the United States of practicing "genocide" against Muslims.
BBC reports that according to Indian officials a ceasefire has been reached with Pakistan in the territory of Kashmir that will begin at midnight local time tonight.
The 88-ton British Airways supersonic jetliner Concorde will become the latest addition to the aircraft collection at the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum in New York City. Ceremonies to welcome the plane will be held today taking its spot on a barge in place of the retired destroyer USS Edson which will be shipping out to Brooklyn to make room.
Reuters reports that Country music singer Glen Campbell was arrested yesterday in Phoenix on suspicion of drunken driving and a hit and run. Police said Campbell also kneed an officer in the thigh during his arrest. Jail officials claimed the country music legend sat in jail singing Rhinestone Cowboy before he was released on bail in the early hours of this morning.
Have a profitable day.
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