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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
World markets were trading higher today with the London FTSE showing the most strength up 0.65%. Asian markets finished in positive territory today. The Japanese Nikkei added 0.11% and the Hang Seng closed up 0.39%. Following better jobless numbers this morning, US equity futures added a few ticks on to its gains. Both initial and continuing claims data showed a slight downtick versus the consensus and prior numbers.

Heads-up:
Lookout for data on the Leading Indicators at 10amEDT and the Phila Fed which is expected at 12pmEDT. The Semi Book to Bill is expected tonight. Expectations are for 0.98 to 1.03. Natural Gas inventory numbers are expected out at 10:30amEDT. After the bell today, look out for earnings from KB Homes(KBH:NYSE), Nike(NKE:NYSE), RedHat(RHAT:NASD), and Solectron(SLR:NYSE).

Brokerage Chatter:
Morgan Stanley upgraded 3Com(COMS:NASD) to overweight from equal-weight. UBS upgraded WalMart(WMT:NYSE) and Bed Bath and Beyond(BBBY:NASD) to buy from neutral. UBS also upped Capital One(COF:NYSE) and American Express(AXP:NYSE) to buy from neutral while it downgraded Waste Mgmt(WMI:NYSE) to neutral from buy. CSFB downgraded Occidental Petro(OXY:NYSE) to neutral from outperform. Goldman Sachs upgraded Corning(GLW:NYSE) to outperform from in-line.

CSFB downgraded Louisiana-Pacific(LPX:NYSE) to underperform from neutral and cut its target to $13.50 from $16. JP Morgan upgraded Duane Reade(DRD:NYSE) to overweight from neutral and added the stock to its Focus List. CIBC upgraded Extreme Networks(EXTR:NASD) to sector perform from sector underperform. SG Cowen downgraded Unisys(UIS:NYSE) to underperform from market perform.
Raymond James downgraded FedEx(FDX:NYSE) to market perform from outperform. JP Morgan upped Vodafone PLC(VOD:NYSE) to overweight from neutral. JP Morgan upgraded Honeywell(HON:NYSE) to overweight from neutral.


Financial Headlines:
Stories :

As speculated by the New York Times this morning, the New York Stock Exchange announced that its new CEO will be John A. Thain, the current president of Goldman Sachs. Goldman announced that Lloyd Blankfein will become the firm's President and Chief Operating Officer following the departure of John Thain becoming CEO of the New York Stock Exchange on January 15.

Lennar(LEN:NYSE) announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

Comcast Corp(CMCSA:NASD) authorized a $1billion share repurchase.


Earnings:
Goldman Sachs(GS:NYSE) beat by $0.35. Revenues rose 40.1% year/year to $4.05 billion versus the $3.92 billion consensus.
Morgan Stanley(MWD:NYSE) beat by $0.04. Revenues rose 19.7% year/year to $5.09 billion versus the $5.30 billion consensus.
Activision(ATVI:NASD) raised its 3rd quarter and 2004 forecasts after the bell last night.
Cypress Semi(CY:NYSE) guided forecasts higher its 4th quarter.
A.G. Edwards(AGE:NYSE) beat by $0.04
Take-Two(TTWO:NASD) reported in line with estimates but cut their EPS view for the next quarter. The company also announced it has received a Wells Notice.
Jabil Circuit(JBL:NYSE) beat by $0.02
Scholastic Corp(SCHL:NASD) beat by $0.01

Around the world in 80 ticks:

Reuters reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin said he has decided to run for a second four-year term next March and further dismissed suggestions that he would change the constitution in a bid to extend his presidency.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that the US State Dept is urging nonessential American diplomats in Saudi Arabia to leave the country.

A downer of a day for the 35,000 spectators on hand yesterday in North Carolina to watch the re-enactment of the Wright Brothers' first flight when the pilot was forced to cut the engine of the replica plane sending it into a pit of wet sand. The crowd was said to have given out a reverberating groan according to the Associated Press.

BBC news reports that Japan has indicated to China that despite its request for extradition, it will not hand over to China the three men accused of arranging an orgy involving hundreds of Japanese tourists. Yesterday, China sentenced two of its countrymen to life in prison over their involvement in hiring over 500 Chinese prostitutes. Japan said that because they do not have an extradition treaty with the Chinese, these wanted Chinese nationals could not be taken into custody. According to the BBC, Chinese officials have renewed calls for a boycott of Japanese goods.

BBC News reports that Sony(SNE:NYSE), which experienced huge success with its Aibo robot dog by selling more than 130,000 units, showed off its latest invention in the robot arena with a humanoid robot that can jog.


Great party last night Toddo and thanks for the invite! Only I wish I didn't have to spend the entire evening in clown makeup handing out holiday balloons. To the rest of our little family that couldn't make it last night, we sorely missed you.


Have a profitable day.


Fokker


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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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