The Fokker Chronicles
Hey Fokker - please cover yourself
Europe was quiet today ahead of the U.S. open. Most of the region traded unchanged to down a bit with the German DAX showing the most of any weakness. The Japanese Nikkei gained 0.14% while the Hang Seng lost 1.14%. U.S. equity futures were a couple of handles off its highs of the pre-open session but remained in positive territory. Treasuries were climbing some ahead of Greenspan's testimony this morning in front of the House Budget Committee.
The earnings calendar will remain light, however, the government will make more noise as we trudge through the week. Alan Greenspan is on the mike again today when he testifies in front of the House Budget Committee on the economic outlook at 10amEDT. In other economic news, Existing Home Sales for January get released at 10amEDT. Tomorrow morning lookout for economic reports on initial claims, durable goods orders and new home sales.
Merrill Lynch increased its 2004 PC unit forecasts from 11% to 13% due to an improving corporate market. Oppenheimer upped Advanced Micro Devices(AMD:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Banc of America raised it target on Monsanto(MON:NYSE) to $41 from $33 while it kept its rating at a buy. Goldman Sachs upgraded Home Depot(HD:NYSE) to outperform from in-line. Wachovia upped Express Scripts(ESRX:NASD) to outperform from market perform.
JP Morgan reiterated its overweight rating on EMC Corp(EMC:NYSE) and added it to their Focus List. UBS upgraded Cabot Micro(CCMP:NYSE) to buy from neutral despite trimming its price target. Lehman upgraded Xilinx(XLNX:NASD) to overweight from equal-weight and raised its target to $48 from $45.
The Investors Intelligence(II) numbers were released and revealed an increase from the week prior. The percent bulls climbed to 60.2 from 59.2 while the percent bearish out there came in at 17.4 versus 17.3.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Goldman Sachs(GS:NYSE) stated in its annual report yesterday that the NASD has told it that securities laws may have been violated by charging markups of more than 5% in at least five distressed debt trades.
Bloomberg newswires report that Microsoft Corp.(MSFT:NASD) and the European Union could settle a five-year antitrust investigation but are reportedly deadlocked over its video and music software units that it would ultimately be forced to split up.
H&R Block(HRB:NYSE) reported EPS of $0.59, easily topping the Street at $0.45. This number included a gain on the sale of mortgage securities which might not break out accurately. Revenues were better as well but shares were falling pre-open.
Ingram Micro(IM:NYSE) beat by $0.11 and guided above consensus for the 1st quarter.
Portal Software(PRSF:NADS) beat by $0.03.
Dollar Tree(DLTR:NASD) reported in line.
Around the world in 80 ticks:
According to the New York Times, a senior scientist at the Department of Agriculture said his fellow colleagues have been pressured by top government officials to approve products for Americans to eat before their safety was ever confirmed.
The Wall Street Journal reported an offshoot of the Mydoom virus is now spreading through the U.S., deleting files in its path.
AP newswires report that the end of a "typical bizarre" Mardis Gras Carnival season has finally come. Despite thinner crowds this year due to the inclement weather, the New Orleans celebration went relatively as planned as arrests were up 4% to 1,700, a couple of people got shot, and a Mississippi River accident stranded thousands according to the police Superintendent. Hey Toddo, can I put my top back on?
According to Reuters, William Coates, thought to be the oldest man in America passed away on Monday at the vital age of 114. Coates who was thought to have been on born June 2, 1889, despite not having the birth certificate to prove it, was considered to be the oldest man by Irving Smith, who has done extensive research on centenarians. Smith was also the director of the Evelyn Cole Senior Center in Seat Pleasant where Coates spent his last days. William Coates had nine children, 21 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren.
Have a great day.
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