The Fokker Chronicles
World markets were up smartly today led in part by the German DAX and London FTSE that gained 1.20% and 0.80% respectively. Asian markets finished on the weaker side today as both the Japanese Nikkei and Hang Seng lost 0.45%. US treasuries were weaker today while spot crude was gaining ahead of the OPEC later this week.
While gasoline prices have made an all time average high over the past couple of weeks of $1.80 a gallon over all the grades, OPEC will announce Wednesday whether or not they will cut production. The economic calendar shows the Consumer Confidence for March tomorrow, Chicago PMI on Wednesday, and vehicle sales get reported on Thursday.
Prudential upgraded Citigroup(C:NYSE) to overweight from neutral-weight, raised its 2004-05 estimates above the consensus, and finally raised the price target to $60 from $49. Bank of America(BAC:NYSE) was upped to outperform from sector perform at RBC. Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE), Reebok(RBK:NYSE) and Harley Davidson(HDI:NYSE) were both mentioned positively in Barron's over the weekend.
JP Morgan upped Western Digital(WDC:NYSE) to neutral from underweight. ThinkEquity upped MatrixOne(MONE:NASD) to a strong buy from equal weight with a new price target of $12. Humana(HUM:NYSE) had their estimates cut at Morgan Stanley for 2004 and 2005. Schwab SoundView downgraded Nokia(NOK:NYSE) to neutral from outperform and cut its target to $21 from $28. Bear Stearns raised U.S. Beverage group to overweight from market weight specifically naming Coca Cola Enterprises(CCE:NYSE), Coca Cola(KO:NYSE) and Pepsico(PEP:NYSE). Schwab SoundView upped Qualcomm (QCOM:NASD) to outperform from neutral and raised its price target to $75 from $55.
Both Prudential and Goldman Sachs are out with positive notes on eBay(EBAY:NASD) this morning saying they see positive upside to its 1st quarter numbers. Merrill Lynch upgraded Patterson-UTI(PTEN:NASD) to buy from neutral. UBS upgraded General Electric(GE:NYSE) to a buy 1 from a buy 2. Intel(INTC:NASD) had its estimates cut at Lehman Brothers while maintaining its overweight rating and $35 price target. Smith Barney downgraded Echostar(DISH:NASD) to hold from buy and lowered its price target to $38 from $43.
Lyondell Chemical(LYO:NYSE) and Millennium(MCH:NYSE) announced this morning a definitive deal combing the two companies valued at $2.3 billion. The stock-stock deal would buy out Millennium shareholders for about $1 billion in shares.
Bloomberg newswires report that Amgen(AMGN:NASD) will be acquiring Tularik(TLRK:NASD) for $1.3 billion.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Senate Republicans offered a strong proposal that would enevitablly tighten the oversight of Freddie Mac(FRE:NYSE) and Fannie Mae(FNM:NYSE).
Around the world in 80 ticks:
Reuters reports that "Mr. Abdullah", an intelligence chief in Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda group was killed during the 12-day offensive where 100 militants died near the Afghan/Pakistani border.
National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice appeared last night on CBS' "60 Minutes," where she commented that despite her desire to testify before the 9/11 commission, she defended her decision by adding that "there is an important principle involved here: It is a long-standing principle that sitting national security advisers do not testify before the Congress." Rice said she'd wished to meet with the families of the victims from Sept. 11. According to AP news, Kristen Breitweiser, a widow of a World Trade Center victim responded "I'd love to meet with (Rice) as long as it's under oath and it's live in front of television cameras."
The next tourist in space has just purchased his $20 million ticket aboard the Russian spacecraft Soyuz and will begin 6 month cosmonaut training in Russia for his trip to the International Space station next April. According to the Associated Press, Optics invention scientist and 58-year-old millionaire Gregory Olsen of Princeton New Jersey said he plans to bring along infrared sensors to analyze pollution in the Earth's atmosphere and the health of agricultural systems on the ground.
NASA has successfully completed a test flight of an experimental jet that according to AP news, reached record setting speeds of Mach7, or seven times the speed of sound which equates to 5,000 mph. The unmanned aircraft, the result of $250 million government project and three years of work could ultimately enable around the world flights in only a few hours travel time or provide the Department of Defense with B-52 bombers that could reach their targets quickly anywhere in the world.
Have a great day.
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