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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
Europe was trading off today with the German DAX leading the markets on the downside, off 0.65% halfway through its session. The Japanese Nikkei gave up 1.25% today while the Hang Seng recovered some ground from yesterday and posted a 0.69% gain for the day. US equities were pointing to a lower start as treasury and gold futures climbed.

Fed President Moscow will be speaking on the economy today at 12:30pmEDT. Vehicle sales figures will be out later today followed by the ABC/Money Consumer confidence number at 6:30pmEDT.

After the bell today look out for the earnings report from Cisco System(CSCO:NASD). Meanwhile, during the day today, Thomas Weisel will be hosting its Technology Conference that will include the likes of Micron Tech(MU:NYSE), Qlogic(QLGC:NASD), Seibel Systems(SEBL:NASD), Oracle(ORCL:NASD), Adobe(ADBE:NADS), Broadcom(BRCM:NASD), EMC Corp.(EMC:NYSE) and Foundry(FDRY:NASD).

Brokerage Chatter:

Goldman downgraded the semi equipment group to neutral from attractive. Friedman Billings Ramsey upped T. Rowe Price(TROW:NASD) to outperform from market perform, raised its 2004-05 estimates and took up their price target to $60 from $54. CIBC upgraded Tower Semiconductor(TSEM:NASD) to sector perform from sector underperform. JP Morgan upgraded Avid Tech(AVID:NASD) to overweight from neutral. Banc of America raised its price target for Strayer Education(STRA:NASD) to $125 from $115 and CIBC upped its target on Career Education Corp.(CECO:NASD) to $57 from $47.

Boston Scientific(BSX:NYSE) was upgraded at RBC from sector perform to outperform. RBC also raised its price target to $54 from $39 and increased its projected 2004-2005 estimates for BSX. CIBC upgraded Nationwide Financial Services(NFS:NYSE) to sector perform from sector underperform. JP Morgan upped NFS as well to an overweight from neutral. Lehman Brothers cut its ratings for the Oil Service Group from positive to neutral; individually downgraded Nabors(NBR:NYSE) and Tidewater(TDW:NYSE) to equal weight from overweight and Baker Hughes(BHI:NYSE) and Smith Intl(SII:NYSE) to underweight from equal weight. The one exception was Lehman's upgrade of Transocean(RIG:NYSE) to equal weight from underweight.

Goldman Sachs downgraded the semi equip sector after the bell last night to neutral from attractive. Specifically Goldman took down its rating on Applied Materials(AMAT:NASD) and Novellus(NVLS:NASD) to in-line from outperform. However, GS raised KLA Tencor(KLAC:NASD) to an outperform from in-line. Merrill Lynch upgraded Too Inc(TOO:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Goldman Sachs upgraded Infineon(IFX:NYSE) to outperform from in-line. Morgan Stanley upped Gateway(GTW:NYSE) to equal weight from underweight.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :

St. Jude Medical(STJ:NYSE) disclosed in its 8-K filing that it has been sued by Guidant Corp (GDT:NYSE) in federal district court over a patent infringement.

Fair Isaac(FIC:NYSE) announced 3-for-2 stock split.

Colgate-Palmolive(CL:NYSE) beat by $0.02.
Transocean(RIG:NYSE) beat by 4 pennies.
Whirlpool(WHR:NYSE) topped estimates by a penny and guided 2004 above consensus.
Timberland(TBL:NYSE) beat by $0.15.
Chicago Mercantile(CME:NYSE) reported 2 cents light of consensus.
Tyco(TYC:NYSE) topped estimates by 2 pennies.
Jefferson-Pilot(JP:NYSE) beat by $0.10.
TASER Intl(TASR:NASD) stunned analysts by reporting $0.25 better and topped revenue estimates.
ON Semiconductor(ONNN:NASD) beat by a penny.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

AP newswires reports three Senate office buildings were closed today after a suspicious white powder was found in the Senate majority leader's office. Preliminary tests indicate the deadly compound ricin was confirmed to be present.

Reuters reported that Prime Minister Tony Blair has joined President Bush in his call for an inquiry into the faulty intelligence leading up to the Iraq war. Blair under intense pressure from his countrymen has requested a probe into the quality of the pre-war British Intelligence. In related news, the Washington Post reported that Colin Powell said that he may not have recommended the Iraqi invasion had he known Hussein had no WMD.

The Washington Post shed more light on the nuclear technology leak out of Pakistan after it learned of information that was revealed to investigators from a Pakistani top nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan. Khan said that he helped North Korea design and equip its facilities for making weapons-grade uranium with the full knowledge of senior military commanders, among them, Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

In keeping with the chemical and nuclear theme, according to an article published in a Russian daily, a senior US State Department official was quoted as saying Iran has been pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program unknown to the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA).

If I hear anymore of this ridiculous chatter on Janet's boob I'm gonna bust, er, I mean burst. But in keeping up with my news colleagues around the globe, AP newswires report that Janet Jackson issued an apology for the spicy dance with Justin Timberlake that ended with a boobie tassle and a ton of publicity for the stars that claim the stunt went further than they had anticipated.

Happy Birthday Carole!!!

Have a profitable day.


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