The Fokker Chronicles
World markets were mixed to lower today. Europe showed strength in Paris as the CAC40 was gaining 0.65% while the London FTSE lost 0.45%. Asia was weaker today as the fears were mounting on the Bird Flu. Japanese stocks closed near unchanged for the day while the Hang Seng lost over 2%. US markets were quiet and showed a modest green lean prior to the open. Check out what Brian Reynolds had to say about the personal income and consumption figures released earlier.
Lookout for economic figures this morning when the December Construction Spending, January ISM Manufacturing and January Prices Paid get released at 10amEDT. The earnings calendar is light today while Vitesse Semi(VTSS:NASD), Intl. Rectifier(IRF:NYSE), and Sanmina(SANM:NASD) host their respective shareholder meetings. Lookout tomorrow for the earnings report out of Cisco Systems(CSCO:NASD).
Smith Barney downgraded Smith Intl(SII:NYSE) to hold from buy. Lazard Freres upgraded Gap Inc.(GPS:NYSE) to buy from hold with a $24 target. Thomas Weisel downgraded Lear Corp(LEA:NYSE) to peer perform from outperform. Smith Barney added Gillette(G:NYSE) to its Recommended List while removing Bank One(ONE:NYSE), Morgan Stanley(MWD:NYSE), and Alcoa(AA:NYSE). Deutsche Bank reiterated a buy rating and placed a $45 target on Pfizer(PFE:NYSE). Wachovia upped Anadarko Petro(APC:NYSE) to outperform from market perform. Barron's made some positive comments over the weekend on Sony Corp.(SNE:NYSE) citing beneficial results from its cost cutting. Deutsche Bank downgraded Ford Motor(F:NYSE) to sell from hold and trimmed its price target by just over a buck.
ThinkEquity upped Novellus(NVLS:NASD) and Lam Research(LRCX:NASD) to overweight from equal-weight and Applied Materials(AMAT:NASD) to strong buy from overweight. TASER(TASR:NASD) took some negative press from Barron's over the weekend. Banc of America upped Veritas Software(VRTS:NASD) to buy from neutral. Oppenheimer upgraded Foundry Networks(FDRY:NASD) to buy from neutral. Smith Barney has downgraded the semiconductor and semicap equipment names from market weight to underweight. They also cut the bank sector from overweight to market weight while they upped the healthcare, pharma and biotech group from underweight to market weight.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the SEC is investigating the arrangements between hedge funds and its brokers whereby trading was provided in return for bringing in investors to the fund. Regulators are determining whether this presented a conflict of interest and has requested information from several of the major brokerage firms detailing such arrangements.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Fannie Mae (FNM:NYSE) is trying to block Congress from releasing information relating to the amount of money they pay to its top executives by citing law violations.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Halliburton Co.(HAL:NYSE) is currently under investigation from the Pentagon for allegedly overcharging by more than $16 million for meals at a U.S. military base in Kuwait during the first seven months of last year.
Goldman Sachs(GS:NYSE) filed for a $35 billion mixed shelf.
Intl Paper(IP:NYSE) beat by $0.05.
Boston Scientific(BSX:NYSE) beat by $0.01
Take-Two(TTWO:NASD) said it will need to restate its earnings from 1999 and has guided below consensus for the 1st quarter.
Humana(HUM:NYSE) beat by $0.01 and guided the1st quarter above consensus.
Around the world in 80 ticks:
According to the New York Times, President Bush is expected to announce this week a bipartisan, independent commission that will be given the responsibility of investigating the apparent flaws in the intelligence used to justify the Iraq war.
BBC news reported that fears are mounting over the Asian Bird Flu and its economic effects associated with a potential tourism drag following reports of the first human to human transmission of the virus.
According to Reuters, several domestic and international flights were grounded yesterday after reports emerged that suggested a chemical or biological attack on an aircraft might be planned.
Reuters citing Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported that in an about-face shocker Israeli PM Ariel Sharon said today that the Gaza Strip settlements will be scrapped completely. The current plan is to evacuate 17 Jewish settlements and alluded to the fact that sometime in the future, there will be "no Jews in Gaza."
Reuters reported the hostage situation at an Arizona prison ended last night, ironically enough at kickoff time(6:30pmEDT) the standoff between two inmates and government authorities was resolved. The woman officer hostage was held for 15 days by two inmates that were already serving multiple terms for various counts of aggravated assault and armed robberies.
AP newswires reports that CBS has issued an apology for unexpectedly airing Janet Jackson's breast when Justin Timerberlake tore off part of her top at the end to its Super Bowl halftime show. MTV which produced the half-time show also apologized for the indecent exposure. Timberlake referred to the incident as a "wardrobe malfunction" and added that it was "regrettable."
A new book named the "The Journey of Man," by John Allen Paulos, mathematician and commentator for ABC news, made a discovery that has been gaining some ground which claims that Eve was robbing the cradle of Adam. According to the Paulos study, it is argued that man dates back nearly 60,000 years while a woman is approximately 150,000 years old.
Adam Vinatieri came up big again following two missed field goal attempts in the 1st quarter only to redeem himself and deliver the New England Patriots a 32-29 victory in the closing seconds of Super Bowl XXXVIII. Tom Brady took home the game's MVP for the second time in three years.
Not the news easterners were looking for today from Punxsutawney Phil, the world's most famous weather forecaster. As thousands gathered for the furry ritual in Punxsutawney, PA, in 17 degree weather to boot, Phil emerged and saw his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter. According to CNN news, the cheery crowd on hand, some dressed up like their furry little hero, began the morning chanting his name until Phil saw his shadow and then booed him relentlessly.
Have a profitable day.
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