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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
Europe was weaker today but the clear laggard was the German DAX that had lost nearly 1.5% halfway through its session as the euro climbed through $1.22. The CAC40 was trading down almost 1%. The Nikkei finished its Monday on a sour note and lost over 3%. The Hang Seng gave up 1.11% on the day. US equities were looking lower heading into the opening of trading today. The US dollar continued its slide today as the broad based currency index fell to a 7 yr low.

Quiet earnings period this week, however lookout for Hovnanian(HOV:NYSE) after the bell today and Costco(COST:NASD) and AutoZone(AZO:NYSE) tomorrow. Economic news will paint the tape tomorrow with Whole Sale Inventories data and an FOMC rate meeting.

Brokerage Chatter:
Bank of America reduces their recommended equity allocation to 70% from 75%. Legg Mason upgraded Cisco Systems(CSCO:NASD) to buy from hold and raised its 2004 and 2005 estimates above consensus. Wells Fargo downgraded Motorola(MOT:NYSE) to hold from buy. UBS downgraded Health Management(HMA:NYSE) to reduce from neutral and cut its price target to $18 from $25. CIBC downgraded Illinois Tool Works(ITW:NYSE) to sector perform from sector outperform. SG Cowen downgraded AstraZeneca(AZN:NYSE) to sell from hold.

Soundview downgraded Take-Two(TTWO:NASD) to neutral from outperform. Merrill Lynch added Medtronic(MDT:NYSE) to its Focus 1 List and upped Baxter(BAX:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Soundview upgraded Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) to outperform from neutral. RBC Capital downgraded PeopleSoft(PSFT:NASD) to underperform from sector perform and cut its target to $19 from $21. Merrill Lynch upgraded Jetblue Airways(JBLU:NASD) to buy from neutral.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Lowe's(LOW:NYSE) announced a $1 billion share repurchase program.

Freddie Mac(FRE:NYSE) announced that Richard Syron will succeed Gregory Parseghian as its Chairman and C.E.O. Syron is currently the executive chairman of Thermo Electron (TMO:NYSE), and prior to that role, he was chairman and CEO of the American Stock Exchange.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
Newsweek reports in its latest issue, a Taliban participant at a mid-November meeting between ousted Taliban commanders and senior Al Qaeda representatives told the magazine that Bin Laden has ordered a major diversion of fighters and financial resources from Afghanistan to Iraq. The reason given was that Bin Laden saw a much greater opportunity for killing Americans and its allies in Iraq and neighboring countries including Turkey. The Newsweek contact known as Sharafullah, acted as a meeting translator and has done so in the past under Mullah Omar. Another Taliban source corroborated the Sharafullah's account from last month.

Reuters reports that Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will be on Wall Street today as he shmoozes with corporate America to show off his country's desire to improve business relations between the two nations. Wen arrived yesterday and made a quick stop at the United Nations to issue a stern warning to Taiwan not to consider separatism. Wen will be in Washington later in the week to meet with President Bush.

The Associated Press reported about 250 people gathered yesterday at the Pearl Harbor memorial for the ceremony to commemorate the Japanese attack. Those on hand paused in silence at 7:55 a.m. 62 years to the minute after the attack started. Candlelight ceremonies were also held throughout the country from New York, Chicago and Atlanta to honor the victims of Pearl Harbor in 1941 where twenty-one ships were seriously damaged, 2,390 people killed and approximately 1,178 were wounded.

Have a profitable day.


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