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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
Europe was trading to the higher side thus far today. The German DAX added 0.68% and the London FTSE was up 0.60% on their respective sessions. The Japanese Nikkei finished up 1.79% while the Hang Seng gained 1.07%. The US dollar remained in a tight range for the early goings but held in positive territory heading into a higher leaning opening of US equity trading today.

Heads-up:
Light day on the economic and earnings front. Looking ahead to the holiday shortened week, earnings highlights will include Research in Motion(RIMM:NASD) and Micron Tech(MU:NYSE) on Monday and Tuesday respectively. Economic releases for next week will include Personal Income and Spending figures, Michigan Sentiment, Durable goods orders, and Initial Claims. Triple witch today as well and quadruple witch for those that care on single stock future contract expiry.


Brokerage Chatter:
CSFB downgraded PG&E Corp(PCG:NYSE) to neutral from outperform. Piper Jaffray upgraded Coach(COH:NYSE) to outperform from market perform and raised its target to $41 from $33. Bear Stearns upgraded Solectron(SLR:NYSE) to outperform from peer perform. Aventis(AVE:NYSE) was downgraded at Merrill Lynch to neutral from buy. Piper upgraded Take Two Interactive(TTWO:NASD) Activision(ATVI:NYSE), Electronic Arts(ERTS:NASD) and THQ Inc.(THQI:NASD) to outperform from market perform.

Morgan Stanley was out positive on some cyclical names today. Morgan raised estimates and the price target on Inco Ltd(N:NYSE). Morgan Stanley upgraded Alcoa(AA:NYSE) to outperform from equal weight. Morgan Stanley also upped Phelps Dodge(PD:NYSE) to overweight from underweight and placed a $100 price target on the stock.

Morgan Stanley downgraded Freeport-McMoRan(FRX:NYSE) to underweight from equal weight. Piper Jaffray upgraded Gymboree(GYMB:NASD) to strong buy. JP Morgan initiated its coverage of Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) with an overweight rating. Wachovia upgraded American Health(AMHC:NASD) to outperform from market perform. Goldman Sachs upgraded SanDisk(SNDK:NASD) to outperform from in-line. RBC Capital upgraded Ariba(ARBA:NASD) to outperform from sector perform. Cypress Semi(CY:NYSE) was upgraded at UBS to buy from neutral. Banc of America upgraded Red Hat(RHAT:NASD) to buy from neutral.



Financial Headlines:
Stories :

Semi book-to-bill was reported last night and showed a rise to 1.04 from October's reading of 1.01.

AMG fund flow data report that equity funds reported net cash inflows totaling $1.9 billion in the week ended December 17 with 58% of that going into domestic funds.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that the Pentagon has accused Halliburton(HAL:NYSE) of refusing to hand over internal documents which could show the oil service giant knowingly overcharged taxpayers $61 million for its work in Iraq.

Raytheon(RTN:NYSE) said it had been awarded a $1.04 billion contract by the U.S. Navy.

PacifiCare(PHS:NYSE) announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

Earnings:
RedHat(RHAT:NASD) reported 3rd quarter sales and EPS in line. The company's enterprise sub revenue of $17.8 million was better than its guidance of $17.1-$17.3 million. Also gave positive 4th quarter and 2004 guidance.
Nike(NKE:NYSE) 2nd quarter number came in at $0.66 better than the first call estimate of $0.61.
ATI Tech(ATYT:NASD) beat by a penny and guided the 2nd quarter revenues above consensus.


Around the world in 80 ticks:

Reuters reported today that Iraq U.S. administrator Paul Bremer told reporters that in early December he had narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Baghdad. Bremer escaped unharmed after his convoy was hit by an explosive device and came under small arms fire as it drove from Baghdad airport.

ABC news has learned yesterday that among the documents found in Saddam's briefcase when he was captured last weekend was a list of names of Iraqis who are apparently Iraqi informants. US officials claim these members have infiltrated US command in Iraq and were feeding information to the insurgents.

The case of the Green River Killer, the serial murderer from the Seattle area who murdered dozens of young women over two decades finally received his sentence yesterday. Gary Ridgway was sentenced to 48 consecutive life terms and fined $480,000, $10,000 for each woman he confessed to killing.

Sniper killer John Lee Malvo, was convicted yesterday of two counts of capital murder for the Oct. 14, 2002, shooting of Linda Franklin at a Home Depot parking lot in Falls Church, Va. According to the Associated Press he will be facing a possible death sentence. John Allen Muhammad, the man Malvo called "Dad," was convicted last month for his role in the DC area shootings last year and was sentenced to death.

Following months of feuding over the size and shape of the new designs for the World Trade Center site, the Associated Press was able to report this morning that world-renowned architects Daniel Libeskind and David Childs have reached a compromise design for what could potentially be the world's tallest building. The Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which oversees the rebuilding efforts, said the tower will rise 1,776 feet and culminate in a spire. Libeskind's lawyer told reporters that, "If the rest of this site is developed this way, it's going to be chaotic." The final project is expected to be unveiled today.

AP newswires report according to police officials, a gang of apparently hungry felines began to eat their 86-year-old incapacitated owner after she suffered a stroke and couldn't get up for nearly a week. Mae Lowrie, who owned 7 cats and a terrier, was found unconscious by fire department and hospital officials and with some interesting nibble marks covering her body. Officials claim the cats who had been extremely emaciated from the lack of food and water had also tried eating her dog, which the Animal Services Department claim displayed signs of hypothermic shock, severe dehydration and respiratory illness. Hey Toddo, when's the last time you fed Phoebe and Zoe?

According to the Associated Press, a former Burger King burger flipper from Pennsylvania was given a whopper of a sentence yesterday that included 90 days in jail and two years probation for hocking a loogie into a state trooper's sandwich. The Saliva sample was discovered after the trooper removed the pickles and consequently compared that to a sample taken from Joshua Arbuckle, the short-order cook in the kitchen. According to police, the incident stemmed from Arbuckle's past run-ins with police and acted in retaliation. Authorities say that his probation could be shortened should the 18yr old Arbuckle get admitted into the military.



Have a terrific weekend.


Fokker


No positions in stocks mentioned.
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