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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
Europe was a bit mixed halfway through their session today. The London FTSE had gained 0.65% while the CAC40 was weaker by 0.25% and the German DAX lost 0.30%. The Asian markets were weaker today due in part to a potential for the reemergence of the SARS virus after Singapore quarantined 70 people. The Japanese Nikkei lost 1.74% and the Hang Seng gave back 0.55% on their respective sessions. US equities indicated a slightly negative look to the opening of trading today. Spot gold was firmer this morning while the dollar was taking a hit against a basket of some of the major world currencies. The US dollar index was off 0.25% prior to the opening bell.

No economic events scheduled for today. Lookout for the API data to be released at 10:30amEDT. Tomorrow brings data on Initial Jobless Claims, Continuing Claims, Leading Indicators, as well as the Phila Fed. Earnings after the bell today include 3 Com(COMS:NASD), Bed Bath and Beyond(BBBY:NASD), Jabil Cuicut(JBL:NYSE), and Scholastic Corp.(SCHL:NASD). Earnings reports of note scheduled for tomorrow include AG Edwards(AGE:NYSE), Goldman Sachs(GS:NYSE), and Morgan Stanley(MWD:NYSE) and Take-Two Interactive(TTWO:NASD) during the morning session, and KB Homes(KBH:NYSE), Nike(NKE:NYSE), and Solectron(SLR:NYSE) after the closing bell.

Brokerage Chatter:
Jefferies upgraded Best Buy(BBY:NYSE) to buy from hold. CSFB has cut revenue and earnings estimates for the hard disk drive suppliers Storage Tech(STX:NYSE), Maxtor(MXO:NYSE), and Western Digital(WDC:NYSE). RW Baird downgraded Apache(APA:NYSE) to neutral from outperform. CSFB downgraded Campbell Soup(CPB:NYSE) to underperform from neutral. Merrill Lynch added Ratheon(RTN:NYSE) to their Focus 1 list and removed Northrop Grumman(NOC:NYSE). Merrill Lynch upgraded Eaton Vance(EV:NYSE) to buy from neutral and downgraded Gabelli Asset Mgmt(GBL:NYSE) to neutral from buy.

Raymond James upgraded Internet Security(ISSX:NASD) to outperform from market perform. Merrill Lynch upgraded Lennar(LEN:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Lehman upgraded Royal Dutch(RD:NYSE) and Shell Transport(SC:NYSE) to overweight from equal-weight while downgrading Statoil(STO:NYSE) to underweight. Goldman Sachs downgraded Kraft Foods(KFT:NYSE) to in-line from outperform. Deutsche Bank downgraded R.J. Reynolds(RJR:NYSE) to hold from buy. Wachovia upgraded Extreme Networks(EXTR:NASD) to market perform from underperform. AG Edwards reassumed coverage of the PC Hardware group and started Dell Co(DELL:NASD) with a buy rating and $50 price target, and Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE) with a buy rating and a $26 price target. Merrill Lynch reinstated coverage of Electronic Arts(ERTS:NASD) and Take-Two Interactive(TTWO:NASD) with buy ratings.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
America's largest pension fund, Calpers, announced yesterday that it will sue the New York Stock Exchange and seven specialist trading firms over alleged trading abuses.

IPO's coming to market today. Orbitz(ORBZ:NASD) and China Life Insurance(LFC:NYSE). Orbitz initial IPO pricing priced at $26 per share above the expected range of $22-$24. China Life represents the largest IPO since the middle of 2002 and was 170 times oversubscribed.

CheckFree(CKFR:NASD) announced it plans to acquire American Payment Systems(APS:NYSE)

Lehman Brothers(LEH:NYSE) reported 4th quarter earnings of $1.71, $0.14 better than the consensus of $1.57. Revenues rose to $2.30 billion versus the $2.16 billion consensus.
Bear Stearns(BSC:NYSE) reported 4th quarter earnings of $2.19 per share, $0.38 better than the consensus of $1.81 on revenues of $1.53 billion versus the $1.38 billion forecast.
eTRADE(ET:NYSE) boosted its forecasts while announcing a $100 million stock repurchase.
Best Buy(BBY:NYSE) reported in line results but guided the 4th quarter and 2004 below consensus estimates.
Monsanto(MON:NYSE) raised 1st quarter guidance above consensus.
FedEx(FDX:NYSE) missed by $0.02 and raised 2004 guidance.
Circuit City(CC:NYSE) reported a $0.12 loss versus expectations of a $0.07 loss.
Textron(TXT:NYSE) guided its 4th quarter above consensus.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
USA Today reported that Singapore has quarantined 70 people following a reported case of SARS today. According to officials, a Taiwanese scientist who had been working on spilled virus samples without wearing protective clothing had traveled to Singapore just over a week ago. A spokeswoman for the World Health Organization told reporters that it appears to be an isolated event and will not likely result in an outbreak.

In a continuing war of words, Reuters is reporting that Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian has warned China that any missile tests would be considered an attack on its sovereignty and could ultimately drive the island further towards independence.

A century ago today, the Wright Brothers from Dayton, Ohio put together a contraption that made the first man-made heavier than air flight. AP news reports that President Bush is expected to be on hand for a team of pilots and engineers to reenact the infamous first flight, timed to come 100 years to the minute after the brothers made their first 120-foot, 12-second flight into history. Backed by many inquiring emails, the Fokker T-2 was the first aircraft to fly nonstop coast to coast in May of 1923. The flight took 26 hours and 50 minutes...almost as long as it takes this Fokker to write this every morning.

ESPN reports that the National Football League has charged New Orleans wide receiver Joe Horn with a $30,000 fine for pulling a cell phone out from the pads that line the goal post and made a phone call in a taunting act of celebration on Sunday following his second touchdown of the game. The Saints ripped the New York Giants in that game 45-7.

Have a profitable day.


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