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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
European markets were edging towards the weaker side thus far today led in part by weakness in insurance related stocks over terrorism fears. The CAC40 was the clear laggard losing just over 0.70% midway through its session. Asian stocks had a reversal of fortune today as the Japanese Nikkei gained 0.74% due in part to an S&P upgrade of Japan from negative to stable. The Hang Seng also gained 0.71% on the day. US treasuries added to its gains following stronger than expected durable goods orders. Click here to read observations from Brian Reynolds.

The events to look out for today include Applied Materials(AMAT:NASD) who will be having an analyst meeting today. The API inventory report is due out later this morning. New Homes sales data is expected to be released at 10amEDT. At noon eastern standard time, Treasury Secretary Snow will testify in front of the House Ways and Means committee. After the bell today, lookout for earnings reports from Micron Tech(MU:NYSE) and Lattice Semi(LSCC:NASD).

Brokerage Chatter:
Gartner letter claims that semiconductor sales should rise between 20-30% in 2004. Smith Barney is telling its customers to buy Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) now that the headline risk has been removed and is looking for a dividend increase in the near future. A couple of Goldman Sachs(GS:NYSE) peers are out positive on them this morning. JP Morgan added GS to its Focus List and gave them a $130 price target while substantially raising its estimates for 2004 and 2005. Smith Barney also raised its price target for GS from $122 to $127 and its estimates for 2004 and '05.

Siebel Systems(SEBL:NASD) had its price target cut to $10 from $11 at UBS. Janney Montgomery initiated Viisage(VISG:NASD) with a buy rating. CSFB positive on Best Buy(BBY:NYSE) and Bed Bath and Beyond(BBBY:NASD) upping both to outperform from neutral. Morgan Stanley mixed things up on the railroads this morning upping Burlington Northern(BNI:NYSE) and Norfolk Southern(NSC:NYSE) to overweight from equal-weight, and downgraded Union Pacific(UNP:NYSE) and CSX Corp.(CSX:NYSE) to underweight from equal-weight. Morgan Stanley upped Schlumberger(SLB:NYSE) to overweight from equal-weight and raised its target to $85 from $75. CIBC upgraded Time Warner(TWX:NYSE) to outperform from sector perform and raised its target to $20 from $18.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
CBS Marketwatch reported that the European Commission today levied its largest fine ever and billed Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) 497.2 million euros or $611.5 million for market abuses, its largest fine ever, and ordered Microsoft to reveal server interfacing information, among other measures. According to Bloomberg, MSFT said it sees at least 4 to 5 more years of EU litigation.

Bloomberg reports that the ECB President Trichet said that the EU may need to lower its economic growth outlook unless consumer spending increases. The next ECB meeting is on April 1st.

According to CNET news, TiVo(TIVO:NASD) is looking to release a new service in the Fall that will provide advertisers the ability to run interactive advertisements while viewers are fast forwarding their recordings through regular ads.

The Financial Times reported that Lockheed Martin(LMT:NYSE) reached an agreement with the Pentagon yesterday to sell 22 of its Raptor jet fighters to the U.S. air force at $110 million a pop.


Red Hat(RHAT:NASD) reported in line results.
PMC Sierra(PMCS:NASD) said it now sees 1st quarter revenue above the mid-point of its prior range.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

Reuters has reported that a senior Hamas leader, Sayed Seyam, who has replaced the assassinated Sheik Yassin said today that his Palestinian terrorist group had no intentions of attacking the U.S. over the loss of its spiritual leader. Seyam said, "It's not in our policy to target Americans or American interests." The US State Department has issued a warning to Americans to leave the Gaza strip and advised against travel to Israel or the West Bank.

AP news is reporting that the Indonesian police chief warned today that Muslim militants may attempt to disrupt the country's parliamentary elections next month.

According to the USA Today, wagers in Vegas make March Madness easily its game of choice. Early projections through the first two rounds estimate that the NCAA Tournament could produce $85 million in legalized wagers throughout the gambling state of Nevada. In comparison, the Super Bowl generates approximately $5 million less than the college men's basketball tournament.

Have a great day.


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