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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
Most of Europe shut down early for the Christmas break but finished out their shortened sessions in positive spirits. The Spanish IBEX added over 1% today while the German DAX gained 0.68%. The mad cow scare has put more pressure on the US dollar this morning and certainly didn't gain any more support from weaker than expected durable goods orders.


Heads-up:
New Home Sales will finish out the economic results before the Christmas Eve rush and will be released at 10amEDT. Friday will be a very light day with no economic data or earnings reports due out.
More importantly, US markets will close early today, not a newsflash for some however for those unsure, 1pmEDT both today and Friday in bond and equity land.

Brokerage Chatter:
UBS upgraded General Motors(GM:NYSE) to buy from neutral and raised its price target to $66 from $52. Morgan Stanley raised its price target for US Steel(X:NYSE) to $40 from $26. However, Morgan downgraded Nucor(NUE:NYSE) to equal-weight from overweight. WR Hambrecht increased its target on Overstock.com(OSTK:NASD) to $21 from $18. UBS made some positive chatter on the restaurant chains following its digesting of the mad cow news and said the food scare could be positive for the restaurants. UBS individually names Mcdonalds(MCD:NYSE) and Wendy's(WEN:NYSE) as plays to buy on weakness this morning.


Raymond James downgraded Mesa Air(MESA:NASD) to underperform from outperform


Financial Headlines:
Stories :
First case of Mad Cow disease in the US expected to pressure food process companies, steak house chains such as Outback(OSI:NYSE) and burger chains like McDonalds(MCD:NYSE) and Wendy's(WEN:NYSE). Several Asian nations such as Singapore, Japan, and South Korea have already come out banning the imports of US meats today.

Medtronic (MDT:NYSE) said it has received conditional Food and Drug Administration approval for its Endeavour III drug eluting stent

Earnings:
Micron(MU:NYSE) beat by $0.06, beats on revs as well which rose 61.6% year over year to $1.11 billion versus the $1.04 billion consensus.
Calif. Amplifier(CAMP:NASD) beat by $0.05 and guided its next quarter higher than consensus estimates.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
According to CNN news, the Department of Agriculture confirmed a cow in Washington state has tested "presumptive positive" for mad cow. Reuters reported Japan and South Korea, the two top buyers of U.S. beef, suspended their imports today following the announcement. Singapore and Russia also said they were suspending imports of U.S. beef.


Reuters reported yesterday that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said a threat of possible year-end terror attacks against the United States was serious as we head into Christmas Eve.


Stay tuned for more Brodsky broken news.


Happy Holidays!

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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