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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
World markets were weaker today led in part by the German DAX which was trading off 0.88% and the CAC40 which was losing 0.75% half way through their respective sessions. Earnings worries at France Telecom and concerns over a generic drug from Bayer led the averages lower in Europe. The Japanese Nikkei overnight lost 1.83% while the Hang Seng closed unchanged. US equity markets were weaker this morning as well on the heals of Cisco Systems(CSCO:NASD) which traded off more than 5% pre-open, while the dollar index hovered around unchanged before the start to trading on Wall Street.

Economic reports are due out at 10amEDT this morning with December Factory Orders and January ISM non-manufacturing data. API data gets released at 10:30amEDT. Computer Associates will be having its quarterly meeting and the Treasury assistant secretary Abernathy will be delivering the keynote address at the American Enterprise Institute(AEI) conference on Fannie Mae(FNM:NYSE), Freddie Mac(FRE:NYSE), and the Federal Home Loan Banks at 2:15pmEDT.

Earnings after the bell today include Anheuser-Busch(BUD:NYSE), Allstate(ALL:NYSE), Cheesecake Factory(CAKE:NASD), and Pixar(PIXR:NASD).

Brokerage Chatter:

UBS upgraded General Dynamics(GD:NYSD) to buy from neutral and placed a $100 price target on the stock. Morgan Stanley downgraded Providian(PVN:NYSE) to underweight from equal-weight. Schwab Soundview upped EchoStar Comm(DISH:NASD) to outperform from neutral. Wells Fargo upgraded Timberland(TBL:NYSE) to buy from hold and placed $68 a share 12-month price target for the stock. UBS upgraded Avon(AVP:NYSE) to buy from neutral and raised its price target to $77 from $68. UBS also upped Textron(TXT:NYSE) to buy from neutral and increased its target to $64 from $61. Gap Inc.(GPS:NYSE) was added to Merrill Lynch's Focus 1 List.

ThinkEquity upgraded QLogic(QLGC:NASD) to overweight from equal-weight. Bank of America Securities changed its ratings on some of the retailers individually, upgraded The Limited(LTD:NYSE) to buy from neutral but cut its rating for May Dept(MAY:NYSE) and Abercrombie & Fitch(ANF:NYSE) to neutral from buy. Bear Stearns cut its 2004 EPS estimates to $3.75 from $3.80. Smith Barney raised its estimates and target for McDonald's(MCD:NYSE) to $32 a share and 2004/05 by 5 cents respectively.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
The latest for Investors Intelligence(II) is the percent bullish was 57% versus 55% last week and the percent bearish remained constant at 19%.

Bloomberg newswires report that Oracle(ORCL:NASD) has raised its bid for PeopleSoft(PSFT:NASD) to $26 a share or $9.4 billion and further said this would be its final offer. The company is seeking a Dept of Justice decision prior to March 12th.

Wyeth(WYE:NYSE) registered in a private placement $1.02 billion in convertibles and issued 16.9 million common shares upon conversion.

General Mills(GIS:NYSE) received a 'Wells Notice' from the SEC.

Cisco Systems(CSCO:NASD) beat by a penny on revenues of $5.40 billion versus the consensus of $5.28 billion. The company guided its 3rd quarter revenues up 1-3% from last year's comparable quarter.
Rohm and Haas(ROH:NYSE) beat by $0.02.
Tommy Hilfiger(TOM:NYSE) beat by $0.15.
Oxford Health(OHP:NYSE) beat by $0.07.
Ciena(CIEN:NASD) guided its 1st quarter below consensus estimates.
WebEx(WEBX:NASD) beat by $0.04 and guided its 1st quarter and 2004 above the consensus.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

The Associated Press reports that the FBI has now been called in for the search of 11-year old Carlie Brucia who was abducted in front of a car wash surveillance camera. Brucia was taking a short cut on her way home from a friend's house Sunday night. Her parents pleaded for her safe return as the sheriff's department, state law enforcement authorities, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and now the FBI have all joined the search for the missing six grader. Authorities say more than 100 calls have come in from the public and an unidentified company has offered up $25,000 as a reward for information leading to her return.

AP news reported that law enforcement officials have discovered a link to the ricin poison which was found yesterday in the mail facilities serving the White House and a South Carolina airport. It was currently unclear whether this link was also connected to the substance found in Senator Bill Frist's office.

Reuters reports the death toll in Asia due to the bird flu has risen to 15 as of today. The virus has reportedly victimized 10 countries in Asia and according a WHO spokesman, the bird flu is not under control and they are losing the battle in the "poultry world."

Reuters has reported that Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry took another 5 states yesterday although John Edwards and Wesley Clark are still putting up a fight as they took a few states as well. Lieberman dropped out of the race last night after failing to keep the race close.

The government's case against the home-maker-trendsetter-diva Martha Stewart reportedly was given a major leg up late yesterday when former Merrill Lynch broker assistant took the stand. Douglas Faneuil recounted the events which admitted the discussion of confidential information leading to the sale of her shares of ImClone Systems(IMCL:NASD) stock.

Have a profitable day.


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