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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
No trading in Europe today and most of Asia opted for a longer weekend as well. The Japanese Nikkei however, opened for business today and finished higher by 0.50% on its session. The US dollar was slightly weaker this morning heading into the opening of a shortened trading session on Wall Street. Equity futures pointed to a higher open when trading resumes at 9:30amEDT.

US markets will close early today, 1pmEDT in both bond and equity land. The government had nothing to report on the economic front today. No earnings to report today either and that calendar will remain quiet through the shortened week next week as well.

Brokerage Chatter:
Morgan Stanley downgraded Tyson Foods(TSN:NYSE) to equal weight following the discovery of a mad cow. Res-Care(RSCR:NASD) cut to hold from buy at Jefferies.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Bloomberg newswires report that China, the largest consumer of steel, has announced it has removed its tariffs on five types of steel products.

According to Bloomberg newswires, announced that it set a single-day record with more than 2.1 million units ordered or 24 items per second world-wide capping off what it called its busiest season ever.

Nothing like playing Monday morning quarterback, even with an entire year to think it over instead of a Sunday night, however, looking back from last Christmas 2002, I realized I should I have spoken up and told Toddo which stocks I truly liked! One of the best performances of the year not with- standing the Bosox defeat at the hand of the Yankees in the ALCS, Carrier Access(CACS:NASD) which at $0.49 last Christmas Eve gained about 3,126%* Christmas to Christmas. But I would have settled for Taser Intl(TASR:NASD) which at a lofty $4 last fall, had its corporate representatives visit my office in a "dog and pony show" and actually stun gunned my colleague Richie Rich. I knew there was something to it! The stock closed this Christmas Eve at $84.25, a 1,985% return*.
*Market capitalization greater than $10mln

Wal-Mart(WMT:NYSE)said its December same-store sales were still tracking near the low end of forecasts.
Sharper Image(SHRP:NASD) raised its earnings outlook range for its 4th quarter and 2003 full year above consensus estimates.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

The Washington Post reported yesterday that U.S. government officials believe a possible high jacking threat had been thwarted on a flight originating in France intended for the States on Christmas day. Authorities said some of the passengers that boarded one of the three Air France flights from Paris to Los Angeles had to be canceled because of security concerns that cited a possible attempt to hijack it and crash-land in Las Vegas or another city along its flight path. French police questioned 13 people in Paris who had checked in for the two Air France flights that were canceled on Christmas Eve due to terrorism warnings issued from U.S. authorities. The French Interior Ministry said no evidence of wrongdoing was found and all 13 were released.

Reuters reported that according to Iranian officials, a powerful earthquake in southeastern Iran shook up a 6.3 to 6.7 magnitude on the Richter scale killing over 2,000 people today and causing destruction to many buildings. According to CNN, nearly 20,000 more people are feared dead.

According to a leading Indian English newspaper, India said it condemned yesterday's assassination bid on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, and described the account as a "heinous terrorist attack."

SKY news reported that British scientists were still trying to find their Beagle 2 and make contact with the Mars probe. Their latest attempt to pick up a signal has ended in failure and they spent nearly 3hrs scanning outer space in a futile attempt. Scientists will attempt to try again as their next opportunity approaches this evening.

Enjoy your weekend!


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