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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
Europe was trading weaker today led by the German DAX and the London FTSE both of which had lost 0.75% half way through their sessions. The Japanese Nikkei and Hang Seng finished off slightly to the downside. The Bank of Australia unexpectedly raised its bench mark rates today sending its currency to its highest level in over 6 years. This is leading some to speculate that the Bank of England may move its rates when it votes tomorrow. US equities were mixed heading into the opening of trading today.

Heads-up:
Lookout for Factory Orders and ISM non-manufacturing data due out at 10amEDT. After the bell today earnings reports will be delivered by Cisco Systems(CSCO:NASD), Fox Communications(FOX:NYSE), and Qualcomm(QCOM:NASD).

Brokerage Chatter:
Lehman downgraded Louisiana Pacific(LPX:NYSE) to equal-weight from overweight. Deutsche Bank made some positive chatter on Xilinx(XLNX:NASD) and Altera(ALTR:NASD). UBS was also positive on Qlogic(QLGC:NASD). Solomon Brothers downgraded Safeway(SWY:NYSE) to sell from hold and cut its price target to $18 from $25. UBS downgraded Cryolife(CRY:NYSE) to market perform from outperform and cut its price target to $6.50 from $8.

AT&T Wireless(AWE:NYSE) was downgraded at Morgan Stanley from overweight to equal weight. Prudential upgraded Clorox(CLX:NYSE) to overweight from neutral-weight and raised their target to $57 from $46. Goldman Sachs made some positive chatter on the steel industry claiming a short squeeze could be in the mix and individually named U.S. Steel(X:NYSE) as its favorite idea in that sector. JP Morgan reiterated their overweight rating and added Symbol Tech(SBL:NYSE) to its Focus List. Jefferies upgraded Intl Gaming Tech(IGT:NYSE) to buy from hold.


Financial Headlines:
Stories :
The Wall Street Journal reported that brokers can expect a likely increase in their bonuses this holiday season as some of the major brokerage houses are likely to increase their year-end payout 10-20% year over year. This comes as the industry is expected to earn record profits this year however the composition of those bonuses will likely be more stock and less cash.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Prudential's(PRU:NYSE) Boston office can expect additional charges brought against them from the NASD. This follows the civil charges that were filed against the brokerage house by the SEC and Massachusetts regulators.

The New York Times says that Intel(INTC:NASD) is expected to announce a breakthrough discovery of a material that will prevent electrical current from leaking as the industry creates smaller transistors.

Pain Therapeutics(PTIE:NASD) announced today that they have developed a substitute for Oxycontin known as Remoxy. According to the New York Times, this new product will be able to deter oxycodone abuse which was recently made popular after celebrity Rush Limbaugh announced his addiction.

According to CNET news, Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) said today that it will offer bounties on the heads of those hackers responsible for the release of the viruses MSBlast worm and the SoBig virus that infected computers the past couple of months. MSFT will offer two $250,000 bounties to those who can provide information leading to an arrest. This represents the first time that a company has offered money for information that could lead to an arrest of a cyber criminal.

Newmont Mining(NEM:NYSE) announced that it will offer 20 million shares in a planned secondary.

Dean Foods(DF:NYSE) said today that it received a Wells Notice from the SEC yesterday that indicating civil action might be brought against the company.

Earnings:
Priceline(PCLN:NASD) reported $0.24 on revenues of $243 million versus first call of $0.21 and $251 million. Company however gave negative pre-announcement citing its 4th quarter will come in between $0.02-$0.08 versus first call of $0.11 and previous guidance of $0.08-$0.12.
Prudential(PRU:NYSE) reported $0.70 on revenues of $4.37 billion versus first call of $0.56 and $4.39 billion.
National Semi(NSM:NYSE) raised its guidance and now sees +7-10% quarter over quarter versus its prior estimates of +4-7% quarter over quarter.
Calpine(CPN:NYSE) beat the street by $0.06 but missed on its revenue estimates.
Edison Electric(EIX:NYSE) beat street estimates by 46 cents.
Playboy(PLA:NYSE) reported a penny worse than expectations.
Tommy Hilfiger(TOM:NYSE) beat by $0.13.


Around the world in 80 ticks:

The Washington Post reports that Iraq's U.S. administrator, Paul Bremer, might be leaning closer to giving conditional support to the creation of an Iraqi-led paramilitary force that would be better trained and better armed than the current Iraqi police.

According to the USA Today, U.S. officials said that the so called North Korean nuclear program appears to be far less advanced than diplomats had originally feared.

USA Today is reporting that the FBI has identified an Al Qaeda suspect who is believed to have been the 20th hijacker in the 9/11 plot but had left the country before the plan was executed.

Middle Eastern press Asharq Al-Awsat, reported that France officially refuted the published remarks made by former Iraqi deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz which claimed Paris had promised Saddam that it would prevent the U.S.-led war against Iraq.



Have a profitable day.

Fokker


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