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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
Europe was faring better today and the Spanish IBEX was bouncing today as well up over 1.5% in its midday session. The German DAX trailed but was gaining over ½% today. The Japanese Nikkei gave up 0.67% while the Hang Seng finished in positive territory today. The US dollar index was weaker today and remained near its lows of the session prior to open of trading on Wall Street.

At 9amEDT the FOMC kicked off its policy meeting. An announcement from the FED is due out around 2:15amEDT today. Looking ahead, the CPI is due out tomorrow morning. Earnings from the homebuilders after the bell today include Lennar(LEN:NYSE) and KB Home(KBH:NYSE). Bear Stearns(BSC:NYSE), FedEX(FDX:NYSE) and Jabil(JBL:NYSE).

Brokerage Chatter:

RW Baird upgraded Fifth Third(FITB:NASD) to outperform from neutral. KB Homes(KBH:NYSE) was reiterated a buy at UBS and placed a $97 target on the stock. Banc of America made some cautious comments on Apple Computer(AAPL:NASD). CSFB lowered its weighting on the defense sector to market weight from overweight. CSFB upgraded Georgia-Pacific(GP:NYSE) to neutral from underperform and raised its target to $35 from $29. JP Morgan removed Symbol Tech(SBL:NYSE) from its Focus List. Merrill Lynch upgraded XL Capital(XL:NYSE) to buy from neutral. State Street(STT:NYSE) was upped to buy from neutral at Merrill Lynch.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :

According to the Wall Street Journal, Banc of America(BAC:NYSE) and Fleet Boston(FBF:NYSE) announced they have settled with Spitzer over its mutual fund practices and will pay a combined $675 million in fines. Both firms will cut its management fees by $80 million each over the next 5 years.

The Financial Times reported that in Fannie Mae(FNM:NYSE) 10k filing yesterday, Fannie had losses totaling $6.86 billion as of the end of last December. The article added that its total derivative losses including those in its open positions could still rise and already totaled $12.19 billion.

Countrywide(CFC:NYSE) announced 3-for-2 stock split.

The Wall Street Journal reported that according to a survey by Manpower, 28% of U.S. employers plan to add workers in the second quarter.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple(AAPL:NASD) said its iTunes Music Store has sold 50 million songs since its debut, but the company said it will most likely miss its 12-mo forecast of selling 100 million by the end of April.

In a schedule 13G filing, disclosed that Mark Cuban is a 6.3% owner.

3M(MMM:NYSE) said last night that it expects its 1st quarter to exceed its previous forecast, and now sees its EPS at 88cents per share versus previous consensus at 82 cents.
Lehman Brothers(LEH:NYSE) beat by 55cents and its revenues rose 84% year over year to $3.14 billion versus the consensus of $2.45 billion.
Tenet Healthcare(THC:NYSE) beat by $0.05 but was light on its revenues.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
The Associated Press reports that Hans Blix spoke yesterday at New York University, and told those on hand that the United States knew months ago that there were no weapons of mass destruction to be found in Iraq. Blix added, "by May I knew there was nothing because the Americans had interrogated so many Iraqis by then and even offered money and still they found nothing." Blix is currently on his book tour "Disarming Iraq," in which he lays out his assessments of the U.S. failures in Iraq and makes claims that the U.S. was motivated for war because of 9/11.

Dow Jones reports that citing an FBI executive, a terror attack in Australia is "inevitable."

CNN reports that scientists may have found a 10th planet in our solar system. The mass was originally discovered in November but has recently gained momentum among astronomers that it is indeed a planet. The object, approximately 8 billion miles from Earth, has been argued by some scientists to be too small to be considered a planet however the preliminary name has been given to it as Sedna, the Inuit goddess who created sea creatures of the Artic.

Reuters is reporting that Spanish police have potentially identified six Moroccan Muslim militants who could be responsible for the terror attacks in Madrid last week that killed 200 people, injuring 1,500 more and helped change the leadership in Spain to a Socialist regime.

AP newswires report that yesterday's $89 million Powerball winner was laid off just last week from his job at a tractor factory. Tim Rivers and his wife called in a financial planner the moment they realized their luck and when asked what they'll do next, Rivers said they plan on moving out of their Salem, Indiana mobile home, buying a home and returning to school.

Have a great day.


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