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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
Europe was off to a much better start today as the German DAX, CAC40, and London FTSE all gained over 1% halfway through their respective trading sessions. The Japanese Nikkei posted a 3% gain following the bailout of one of its largest regional banks over the weekend. The Hang Seng added 1.13% on the day. US equities were poised for a higher start to trading today while treasury futures were trading modestly weaker in early trading. The dollar remained in negative territory just off its earlier lows following the break of the key support level for the Dollar index of 90.00.

The government will release a handful of data this morning at 10amEDT including Construction Spending, ISM manufacturing and ISM prices paid. McData(MCDATA:NASD) earnings are due out after the closing bell today. Lookout for Walmart(WMT:NYSE) later in the week when they report its sales for the month of November.

Brokerage Chatter:

Deutsche Bank upgraded Fairchild Semi(FCS:NYSE) from hold to buy. Barron's articles over the weekend shed some positive light on the likes of Applied Materials(AMAT:NASD), Novellus(NVLS:NASD), Merck(MRK:NYSE) and Pfizer(PFE:NYSE). Wedbush Morgan raised its targets for Analog Devices(ADI:NYSE) to $70 from $55, Intersil(ISIL:NASD) to $35 from $30, Linear Tech(LLTC:NASD) to $55 from $50, and Maxim(MXIM:NASD) to $68 from $57. General Electic(GE:NYSE) was upped to buy from hold at AG Edwards. Jeffries upgraded Rite Aid(RAD:NYSE) to buy from hold. RBC Capital upgraded Devon(DVN:NYSE) to outperform from sector perform and downgraded Burlington Resources(BR:NYSE) to sector perform from outperform.

Jefferies downgraded New Century Financial(NCEN:NASD) to hold from buy. Jefferies upped SAP AG(SAP:NYSE) to buy from hold and raised its target to $44 from $40. JMP Securities upgraded Oracle(ORCL:NASD) to strong buy from market outperform. JP Morgan downgraded Constellation Brands(STZ:NYSE) to neutral from overweight. Smith Barney upped Broadcom(BRCM:NASD) to hold from sell and raised its price target to $40 from $28. UBS downgraded Business Objects(BOBJ:NASD) to neutral from buy. Deutsche Securities upgraded ExxonMobil(XOM:NYSE) to buy from hold. WR Hambrecht raised its estimates on SanDisk(SNDK:NASD).

Soundview upgraded Cadence Design(CDN:NYSE) to outperform from neutral, raised its 2004-05 estimates above consensus, and raised its target to $20 from $14. Deutsche Securities upgraded Intl Paper(IP:NYSE) to buy from hold. Prudential upgraded MBNA(KRB:NYSE) to overweight from neutral-weight and raised its target to $31 from $23. Deutsche Securities reiterated its buy rating on Yahoo!(YHOO:NASD) and raised its target to $48 from $44. UBS downgraded Tellabs(TLAB:NASD) to reduce from neutral. Raymond James upgraded Symantec(SMTC:NASD) to strong buy from outperform.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Walt Disney Co.(DIS:NYSE) said yesterday that it was forcing Roy Disney off its board due to its mandatory retirement age policy. Disney, the last family member on the board, acquiesced but not before recommending the departure of CEO Michael Eisner as well. The Wall Street Journal released a letter dated November 30th stating Roy Disney's announcement to the CEO that he will step down but adding that it is Eisner that should be going instead.

Boeing(BA:NYSE) CEO Phil Condit announced his resignation this morning citing a change needed to be made. His resignation follows the departure on November 24th of Boeing's CFO Michael Sears. A conference call is scheduled for 10:30amEDT.

Dupont(DD:NYSE) announced a new $900 million strategy that will involve some job cuts and potential charges in its 1st quarter earnings.

According to the Washington Post, President Bush is said to be leaning towards repealing most of the steel tariffs in an effort to avoid trade wars and political turbulence.

As many had expected, Japanese government financial panel on Saturday decided to nationalize insolvent Ashikaga Bank.

DR Horton(DHI:NYSE) announced a 3 for 2 stock split.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
BBC News has reported that UK security services are in fear of a possible Christmas bombing campaign by Al-Qaeda terrorists in Britain. According to the Times of London, Scotland Yard is worried that Islamic fanatics may be preparing to carry out simultaneous attacks on what is called "soft" targets, which includes shopping centers. In related news, authorities may have foiled a Christmas suicide bomb attack on an international flight by terrorists attempting to use a sophisticated new explosive device designed to evade security at British airports.

According to the New York Times, Saddam Hussein's sons, generals and other front companies had engaged in lengthy discussions with the North Koreans in attempts to develop a missile system two years prior to the Iraqi invasion.

The BBC reports that Syria has given up 22 people to Turkey suspected of being linked to the bombing in Istanbul which killed more than 60 people in attacks on two synagogues, the British embassy and the British-based HSBC bank within the span of a week.

The New York Times reported that rents in 80% of metropolitan areas are dropping due in part to higher home ownership and oversupply of space available. The amount of apartments vacant this summer was 9.9%, the highest level since 1995 when these stats were first recorded. Rents however in some major coastal cities have fared somewhat better. Several copies of this article are already in transit to my landlord for her review.

BBC news is reporting that rocker Mick Jagger is to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth.

The Associated Press reported over the holiday weekend how a fun day at a Ku Klux Klan initiation in Tennessee went horribly wrong. A bullet was fired into the air during the ceremony, but what goes up evidently must come down and inadvertently struck a member in the head, critically injuring him. Gregory Allen Freeman was charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment in the incident. According to the local Sheriff, 10 people including children were on hand for the ceremony and witnessed that man who was being initiated get blind folded, tied with a noose to a tree and shot with paintball guns while Freeman shot into the air a live firearm to simulate the sound of gunfire.

Have a profitable day.


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