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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
Europe was off to a good start to the week today as the London FTSE led the region higher posting a 0.75% advance. The Japanese Nikkei gained 1.38% today while the Hang Seng played counter to the Asian major losing 0.74% on its session. US equities were poised for a higher opening today as futures closed at the high of the pre-open session.

Heads-up:
All Greenspan all the time as the Fed Chief is scheduled to speak four times this week. Look for Greenspan today to comment on household debt, GSEs on Tuesday, economic policy will be covered on Wednesday, and a brief appearance at an economic conference this Friday afternoon after the bell. Starting today in Arizona, Goldman Sachs will be hosting it 2004 Technology Investment Symposium.

No economic news out for today but lookout tomorrow for Consumer Confidence tomorrow morning. Earnings after the bell today include Agile Software(AGIL:NASD) and Triad Hospitals(TRI:NYSE).

Brokerage Chatter:

Merrill Lynch raised its target on Motorola(MOT:NYSE) to $20 from $18. Lehman initiated coverage of the Chinese Internet sector with a Positive rating, individually naming Sina Corp(SINA:NASD), Netease.com(NTES:NASD) and Sohu.com(SOHU:NASD). UBS cut Advanced Micro Devices(AMD:NYSE) price target to $17 from $20 and reduced its estimates. Deutsche Bank downgraded Electronic Data Systems(EDS:NYSE) to sell from hold and cut its target to $17 from $22. UBS raised its price target for Fannie Mae(FNM:NYSE) to $120 from $90 and for Freddie Mac(FRE:NYSE) to $100 from $75.

RW Baird downgraded Genentech(DNA:NYSE) to underperform from neutral. JMP Securities upped Fair Isaac(FIC:NYSE) to outperform from market perform. Banc of America upgraded Citrix Systems(CTXS:NASD) to buy from neutral and took up its price target to $27 from $24. Lehman downgraded 3Com(COMS:NASD) to equal-weight from overweight and cut its target to $8.50 from $9.50. Bear Stearns upgraded Dendrite(DTRE:NASD) to outperform from peer perform.

Merrill Lynch made some ratings changes to its sector coverage and upped the Semiconductor Sector to overweight from equal weight and the Wireless Sector to overweight from underweight, meanwhile it downgraded Communication Equipment group and Software sector to equal weight from overweight. Barron's over the weekend made some positive chatter on Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) commenting that the software powerhouse is relatively undervalued in comparison to its tech giant counterparts.


Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Citigroup(C:NYSE) announced it would buy South Korea's Koram Bank for $2.73 billion.

AMG data showed that cash inflows totaled $3.6 billion for the week ending February 18. January equity fund flows $40.8 billion, its highest reading since February of 2000.

According the UK Guardian, a sensitive European Union(EU) has warned Russia that harsh sanctions would be imposed on it unless it backs off from its confrontational attitude towards the eastern European countries that plan on joining the EU this may.

Reuters reported that Ford Motor(F:NYSE) has planned a $1 billion car plant in eastern China.

Nextel(NXTL:NADS) raised its stock repurchase program to $1.5 billion from $500 million.

Earnings:
Qualcomm(QCOM:NASD) boosted its 2nd quarter outlook to $0.48-$0.50 versus its previous guidance of $0.38-$0.41
Lowe's(LOW:NYSE) beat by $0.01 although it came in light on its revenues. The company guided its 1st quarter and 2004 estimates above consensus.
Coach(COH:NYSE) guided its estimates for the 3rd and 4th quarter above consensus.



Around the world in 80 ticks:

The BBC news citing a leading British newspaper claimed Bin Laden has been pinned down to a remote area of North Western Pakistan by British and American Special Forces. No confirmation has been officially given but a US intelligence official said the most wanted terrorist in the world has been "boxed in" to a 100 square mile territory. In related news, the Washington Times reported that The Pentagon will be moving its super-secret commando unit (aka TaskForce121) from Iraq to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border in an effort to hunt down Bin Laden.

Reuters reported that Pakistani forces are planning on taking the offensive against Bin Laden and his Taleban brothers. Pakistani soldiers will be plugging the holes along its border with Afghanistan in an effort to choke up the remaining suspects in their region. However, officials say Bin Laden is not an immediate target for this operation.

According to BBC News, for the first time, Iran has officially acknowledged that it had purchased nuclear equipment on the black market. An Iranian spokesman from the foreign ministry said yesterday that "We purchased some parts from some dealers but we don't know what was the source or which country they came from." The spokesman, despite not knowing the country of origin, did somehow know that the nuclear material might have been delivered via the Indian subcontinent and was quick to add that wherever it came from and whoever they paid for the illicit equipment, it was strictly meant for peaceful purposes.

Yesterday on NBC's 'Meet the Press', Ralph Nader announced he will run for President. USA Today reports that despite many of his former supporters pleading with him to stay out of the race, Nader insisted that he wanted to appear to the younger voters and the disgruntled Republicans in an effort to help the Democrats. Nader commented to Tim Russert (host of Sunday's program) that he wants his campaign to serve as a tool for exposing Bush's vulnerabilities and failures and not to serve as a detraction for the Democrats who still blame Nader for Gore's loss in 2000. In related news, lookout for President Bush's TV ads hitting the tube on March 4th.




Have a great day.

Fokker

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