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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
Europe traded weaker today as the CAC40 led most of the region down. The CAC40 lost 0.60% on the session halfway through the day in Paris. The Japanese Nikkei however gained 1% on its session. US equities were poised for a higher start to trading however just off their best levels of the premarket session. Check out Brian Reynolds for his take on the jobless claim numbers released earlier.

Lookout for the Intl Bus Machine(IBM:NYSE) analyst day and Intel(INTC:NASD) widely-anticipated mid quarter update. Bear thinks IBM reiterates for this quarter and says they feel comfortable with street estimates for 2004. National Semi(NSM:NYSE) is scheduled to report its earnings during the day today. Tomorrow on the economic front, lookout for the employment and payroll figures as well as the data on Factory Orders and Consumer Credit.

Brokerage Chatter:
Merrill Lynch upgraded Cisco(CSCO:NASD) to buy from neutral and raised its 2004-05 estimates. Merrill has a $29 price target on the stock. Bank of America upgraded General Motors(GM:NYSE) to neutral from sell. Bear Stearns strategist is reducing the recommended asset allocation to bonds from 30% to 25% and increasing Bear's cash allocation from 10% to 15%. Lehman upgraded Symbol Tech(SBL:NYSE) to overweight from equal-weight, raised its 2004 estimate and upped its price target to $20 from $12.

Synopsys(SNPS:NASD) upped to equal weight from underweight at Lehman. Merrill Lynch upgraded Marvell(MRVL:NASD) to buy from neutral. Soundview raised Yahoo!(YHOO:NASD) estimates above consensus for their 4th quarter and 2004 numbers while maintaining its outperform rating and $48 price target. JPMorgan made some positive chatter on Pfizer(PFE:NYSE) claiming the stock is due to outperform. CSFB upgraded Air Products (APD:NYSE) to outperform from neutral and downgraded Praxair (PX:NYSE) to neutral from outperform. Merrill Lynch upgraded Jabil Circuit(JBL:NYSE) to buy from neutral.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
The expected $4.5 billion contract over 8 years has been awarded to Northrop Grumman(NOC:NYSE) to be the prime contractor while Ratheon(RTN:NYSE) will serve as the principal subcontractor.

Bloomberg newswires report that USB Piper Jaffray(USB:NYSE) said the SEC and NASD are seeking information about its mutual fund trading practices.

The European Commission dismissed a news report today that it was studying currency controls and consequently caused the euro to reverse course and rally to be up 0.20% at 1.2134 for the session.

Bloomberg newswires report that President Bush may end steel tariffs as early as today. China and the EU are expected to follow suit should the U.S. choose this course of action.

Despite the Wall Street Journal reporting today that Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali al-Naimi said OPEC will need to cut output in forthcoming weeks in order to boost oil prices because of the declining U.S. dollar, OPEC's Silva announced that OPEC has agreed to no change. Its oil targets of $22 to $28 a barrel will remain in tact for now said Silva despite the current index standing at $28.68 a barrel.

Reuters reports that Walt Disney Co. (DIS:NYSE) said yesterday it had set a world box office record as it sold more than $3 billion in movie tickets so far this year. In related news, The New York Post reported that according to some Hollywood sources, Steve Jobs might be in line to fill the head spot.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Goldman Sachs(GS:NYSE) is planning on building on building a new 1.5MM sq ft headquarters across from the World Trade Center.

Reuters reports that Strong Capital Management, whose founder resigned on Tuesday amid a regulatory investigation, has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs Group (GS:NYSE) in a bid to sell the company.

Genzyme(GENZ:NASD) announced yesterday that it plans to issue $600 million in convertible notes.

Genentech(DNA:NYSE) phase II study of its drug combination suggested an improved survival rate in breast cancer patients.

Wal-Mart(WMT:NYSE) comps were up 3.9% versus consensus of up 4.0%.
Kohl's(KSS:NYSE) reported a 4.4% decline in November comps.
Dollar General(DG:NYSE) beat by $0.03.
Qualcomm(QCOM:NASD) raised 1st quarter guidance.
Sears, Roebuck(S:NYSE) November comp store revenues decreased 3.6% versus a consensus increase of 0.8%.
Synopsys(SNPS:NASD) beat by $0.03, guides Q1 below consensus.
Comverse Tech(CMVT:NASD) beat by a penny.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
Sky news is reporting that a blast was heard near the US embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Rumsfeld is in Afghanistan today to meet with leader Karzi.

The Associated Press reports that Japan has approved a plan to begin sending 1,000 troops for non-combat duty in Iraq earmarked for the end of December.

Dow Jones newswires report that the New York Times online edition cited Chinese military officers yesterday as claiming Taiwan's insistence on its independence has pushed the island toward the "abyss of war." Chinese leadership added that China would consider a popular vote on Taiwan's political status as cause for war.

AP news reports that Colorado has reported a total of 6,306 cases of flu as of yesterday, an increase of 1,619 from Monday. Although it's still early in the season officials say, Colorado has already had more cases than in the previous two flu seasons combined, 6,239. Colorado is currently one of 10 states with a widespread flu outbreak, according to the CDC.

AP news reported that Clayton Waagner was found guilty yesterday of over 50 counts including the most serious charge of threatening to use weapons of mass destruction after he mailed fake anthrax to women's abortion clinics in 24 states. Waagner is a self-described "terrorist" and was once on the FBI's 10 most wanted list however he told jurors his motive was only to shut down these abortion clinics. In a lame attempt at a closing argument, Waagner told the jurors that he was not a killer but added, "what I should have done: shooting them, abortionists and clinic workers, in the head."

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