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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
Europe remained firmer today while the German DAX which had gained 0.73% was leading the region higher. Asian finished mixed on their session as the Japanese Nikkei added 0.86% but the Hang Seng lost 0.54%. US equities were mixed heading into the opening of trading today.

Heads-up:
Lookout for the University of Michigan confidence number due out around 9:50amEDT. Christmas Eve, the government will be dropping off its figures for Durable Goods orders, Initial Jobless Claims, Continuing Claims, and New Home Sales. After the bell today, Micron Technology(MU:NYSE) will release its earnings.


Brokerage Chatter:
Bear Stearns upgraded Research In Motion(RIMM:NASD) to outperform from peer perform and JP Morgan upped RIMM to overweight from neutral. ThinkEquity upgraded the stock to strong buy from equal weight and raised its price target to $70 from $40. Soundview made some positive chater on eBay(EBAY:NASD) and Interactive Corp(IACI:NASD). Jefferies downgraded Forest Labs(FRX:NYSE) to hold from buy. UBS downgraded Sunoco(SUN:NYSE) to reduce from neutral. JP Morgan downgraded Pinnacle Systems(PCLE:NASD) to underweight from neutral. Morgan Stanley downgraded CSX Corp(CSX:NYSE) to equal-weight from overweight, and downgraded Norfolk Southern(NSC:NYSE) to underweight from equal-weight.

AG Edwards upped United Tech(UTX:NYSE) to buy from hold. Lehman Brothers raised their view of the Metals & Mining sector to positive from neutral. Lehman remained negative on gold stocks Barrick Gold(ABX:NYSE), Newmont Mining(NEM:NYSE), and Placer Dome(PDG:NYSE), however upgraded US Steel(X:NYSE) to equal-weight from underweight, and raised price targets for Alcoa(AA:NYSE)to $45 from $32 and Alcan(AL:NYSE)to $58 from $45.


Financial Headlines:
Stories :

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Nasdaq Stock Market has approached the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the possibility of a merger between the two marketplaces.

Duane Reade(DRD:NYSE) announced that it has entered into an agreement to be acquired for $17 per share by Oak Hill Capital Partners, L.P.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Cingular wireless is considering an IPO and/or acquisition of AT&T Wireless(AWE:NYSE). SBC Communications (SBC:NYSE) and Bellsouth(BLS:NYSE) are co-owners of Cingular.

Bloomberg newswires report that Italy's Parmalat said today that it is unable to account for 9 billion in euros or $11 billion in funds its accounts allegedly held.


Earnings:
Research In Motion(RIMM:NASD) beat by $0.14 and guided its 4th quarter higher.
Baxter(BAX:NYSE) guided estimates below consensus for its 4th quarter.


Around the world in 80 ticks:

The Associated Press reported that residents from San Francisco to Los Angeles were shaken by an earthquake yesterday making it the first to cause fatalities in the state since a 6.7 tremor hit Northridge back in 1994. Yesterday's quake registered a magnitude of 6.5.

According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, presidential hopeful Howard Dean was shown to have a lot of strength against other Democrats. When respondents were asked who they would trust more with national security, 67% said Bush and 21% said Dean. When asked who they would trust more to handle domestic issues such as social security, health care and education, Bush was again given the upper hand by 50% to 39%.

NBC news reports that following the raised terror alert, US military jets have renewed their patrols over NYC, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, actions not seen since just after 9/11/2001.

According to Reuters, Italian police are currently investigating a possible plot against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi after phone taps of suspected Islamic extremists indicated they might be planning an attack.

AP news reports that the United States has credible information, including that which prompted this week's elevated national terror threat level, that Al Qaeda has been continuing to study potential weaknesses in America's revamped aviation security. MSNBC cited some officials that said Al Qaeda might have some foreign pilots which have been licensed and trained to fly international flights. In related news, foreigners that will be entering U.S. airports and seaports with some exceptions will soon have their fingerprints scanned and their photographs snapped as part of a new program designed to enhance border security. The program is expected to be functional by January 5th at all 115 airports in the county which handle international flights and 14 major seaports, allowing Customs officials to instantly check an immigrant's or visitor's criminal background.

Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that Texas A&M University delivered the latest in a series of clones, a white-tailed deer named Dewey. The university's College of Veterinary Medicine announced yesterday that Dewey was born in May, and is believed to be the world's first successfully cloned deer.




Have a profitable day.


Fokker

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