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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
Global markets were mixed to higher today. The DAX was losing some ground however the CAC40 was gaining about 0.60%. Meanwhile, the Asian markets were slightly weaker today ahead of Taiwan elections this weekend. The Japanese Nikkei lost 0.57% and the Hang Seng gave back 0.20%. Both spot gold and the dollar index were trending higher this morning.

Quadruple witching today. No economic or earnings news expected after the bell. Looking ahead to next week, expect earnings reports from Goldman Sachs(GS:NYSE), Red Hat(RHAT:NASD), Micron Tech(MU:NYSE), and AG Edwards(AGE:NYSE).

Tip off time for the tournament games is 12:15pmEDT.

Brokerage Chatter:

CIBC raised its estimates and price target on Cendant(CD:NYSE). Goldman Sachs upgraded VISX(EYE:NYSE) to in-line from underperform. Bear Stearns upped Bank of America(BAC:NYSE) to outperform from underperform. UBS upgraded Ciena(CIEN:NASD) to neutral from reduce. RW Baird upgraded Mercury Interactive(MERQ:NADS) to outperform from neutral. CIBC upgraded SAP AG(SAP:NYSE) to sector outperform from sector perform. UBS upped Veritas (VRTS:NASD) to buy from neutral.

JP Morgan upgraded Magna(MGA:NYSE) to overweight from neutral. Bear cut Wachovia(WB:NYSE) to underperform from outperform. Schwab Soundview upgraded Lucent(LU:NYSE) outperform from neutral and raised its target to $5 from $3.50.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Coca Cola(KO:NYSE) said it will recall its Dasani Water from the UK market because of excess bromide levels found in the water.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) might cut its X-Box prices from $179 to $149 in the next couple of months.

Semi equipment book/bill ratio came in at 1.14 last night versus the 1.16 First Call estimate. The three month average of bookings rose 6.5% to $1.305billion in February reflecting bookings at three year highs.

Marathon Oil(MRO:NYSE) announced a $2.93 billion acquisition with Ashland(ASH:NYSE) giving MRO complete ownership in Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC (M.A.P.).

According to the NY Post, Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) could be a potential buyer of Time Warner's(TWX:NYSE) AOL unit.


Lattice Semi(LSCC:NASD) delayed its 4th quarter earnings release for the 3rd straight time, citing more time is needed to review its accounting. The company added that it expects to cut its previously reported revenue for the first 3 quarters of last year by approximately $11million and increased its net loss by as much as $9.5million.
Nike(NKE:NYSE) beat by a penny and also topped revenue estimates.
Adobe Systems(ADBE:NASD) beat by $0.10.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
The Washington Times reports that Senator John Kerry renounced all endorsements given from foreign leaders recently. Questions arose that alluded to conversations he might have had with world leaders that he was told they wanted him to beat President Bush.

Reuters reports that five of the men held in connection with the Madrid train bombings that have been accused of terrorism said today they had no links with Al Qaeda. The convicted Moroccan and Indian men also claimed to be sleeping at the time of the assault.

Reuters reports another attempt to alter election results around the world. Ahead of this weekend's elections in Taiwan, President Chen Shui-bian and his Vice President Annette Lu were both shot at and taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries. China, which has made it clear it does not support incumbent President Chen, gave no immediate response or reaction to the incident and sources say the government still hasn't told its own public.

AP newswires report that Delta Air Lines(DAL:NYSE) lost more than luggage this time at Hatsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Between connecting flights, Delta lost an 80-year-old man with Alzheimer's disease who should have been given an escort in the Atlanta airport. After Antonio Ayala's flight landed, he wandered aimlessly around the city until 24hours later the gentleman was found near a bus station in downtown Atlanta.

Have a great weekend and good luck on your brackets, unless you're in my pools.


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