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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
European markets were firmer today as the Spanish IBEX was the leading percentage gainer adding over 1% midway through their trading session. Asian markets were a mixed bag as the Japanese Nikkei edged slightly higher today while the Hang Seng lost nearly a half of a percent. US equities were poised for a higher start to the day on the heels of positive revisions in the claims data and a firmer number for non-farm productivity.

Heads-up:
Natural Gas inventory numbers are due out at 10:30amEDT. Earnings after the bell include Maxim Int(MXIM:NASD), THQ Inc.(THQI:NASD), and Triquint(TQNT:NASD). Tomorrow lookout for the economic data on nonfarm payrolls, unemployment rate and consumer credit. Earnings include Cigna(CI:NYSE), Ericsson(ERICY:NASD), and Vishay(VSH:NYSE).

Brokerage Chatter:
UBS downgraded Anheuser-Busch(BUD:NYSE) to neutral from buy and cut its price target to $56 from $61. Merrill Lynch upgraded Harrah's(HET:NYSE) to buy from neutral and downgraded Franklin Resources(BEN:NYSE) to neutral from buy. Bear Stearns and Smith Barney upgraded Sprint PCS(PCS:NYSE) to an outperform and a buy respectively.

UBS downgraded Forest Labs(FRX:NYSE) to neutral from buy. Banc of America upgraded Best Buy(BBY:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Deutsche Bank upped Cerner(CERN:NASD) to buy from hold and raised its price target to $55 from $40. JP Morgan upgrades MedImmune(MEDI:NASD) to overweight from neutral. Medtronic(MDT:NYSE) was downgraded at CIBC.


Financial Headlines:
Stories :

According to the New York Post, Yahoo!(YHOO:NASD) plans to open an online music shop.

Bloomberg newswires report that Eli Lilly(LLY:NYSE) received FDA approval for treatment of asbestos-related cancer.

Earnings:
Pepsico(PEP:NYSE) reported $0.51 on revenues of $8.07 billion versus FC of $0.52 and $7.825 billion.
Adolph Coors(RKY:NYSE) beat by $0.31.
Louisiana-Pacific(LPX:NYSE) beat by $0.50.
Starwood Hotels(HOT:NYSE) beat by $0.10 and guided above consensus.
Toll Brothers(TOL:NYSE) despite reporting record 1st quarter results, cited weather and government regulations as a reason for the current 56% increase in its backlog. Also cut 100 homes from its 2004 delivery forecast.
Medtronic(MDT:NYSE) preannounced 3rd sales of $2.195 billion versus the consensus $2.23 billion.
Allstate(ALL:NYSE) beat by $0.02.
Pixar Animation(PIXR:NASD) topped estimates by $0.17 and beat revenues of $164.8 million versus $161.2 million.


Around the world in 80 ticks:
According to CNN, CIA Director George Tenet is expected to deliver his defense of his agency's prewar conclusions which led claim to Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. Tenet is expected to speak at Georgetown University today.

Reuters reported that in a show of sympathy, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan was given a pardon from Pakistan's cabinet today following his admission this past week that he had sold vital nuclear technological secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea. UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei warned the UN that Khan was just the "tip" of the nuclear iceberg.

Officials from three international agencies warned today that the Asian bird flu is not under control and could spread to other regions if emergency preventative measures are not taken. According to Reuters, 16 lives have been reportedly claimed from the current outbreak not to mention countless chickens.

AP newswires report that two years after the FBI found the body of Petr Pospisil's, Matthew McKinney was convicted of second degree murder of his boss and sentenced to 21 years in prison. The FBI stumbled over the gun riddled corpse of Pospisil while they were after him for employing illegal aliens and skimming their wages. McKinney was incriminated by a cell mate that told investigators McKinney admitted to pulling the trigger on his boss. Doesn't anyone use rat poison in their boss's coffee anymore?


Have a profitable day.

Fokker


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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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