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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
The Japanese yen has stolen much of the financial headlines this a.m. due to a government report that reflected a reduction in the amount of currency sales this past month. The report sent the 4 year highs against the dollar pressuring the dollar index while lifting spot gold nearly 1%. On top of the Dollar/Yen woes, the OPEC meeting today concluded that most of the oil ministers felt an oil reduction was necessary and announced a cut in production would begin as early as tomorrow. That and a fire at a BP oil refinery, the 3rd largest refinery in the country, have sent spot crude prices up over 2% this morning. World equity markets however were trading higher. The CAC40 was gaining 0.80% and leading most of the averages in Europe. The Asian markets finished mostly higher as well today. The Japanese Nikkei gained 0.19% and the Hang Seng gained 0.32%.

Lookout at 10amEDT for the Chicago purchasing managers' index for March and Factory orders for February. Later this morning the API/DOE will release weekly inventory numbers. After the bell Bed Bath and Beyond(BBBY:NASD) will release its earnings report.

Annual shareholder meetings today from Freddie Mac(FRE:NYSE), Goldman Sachs(GS:NYSE), and Bear Stearns(BSC:NYSE).

Brokerage Chatter:
Internet Security(ISSX:NASD) was upped to neutral from sell at Fulcrum. CSFB raised its 2004 estimates above consensus for Yahoo(YHOO:NASD). SanDisk(SNDK:NASD) estimates were raised at JP Morgan. Raymond James downgraded Stanley Works(SWK:NYSE) to market perform from strong buy. Alkermes(ALKS:NASD) was added to Merrill's Focus 1 list. Merrill Lynch upped Eli Lilly(LLY:NYSE) to buy from neutral.

Thomas Weisel upgraded Western Digital(WDC:NYSE) to outperform from peer perform. Deutsche Bank downgraded Trimeris(TRMS:NASD) to hold from buy and cut its target to $15 from $33. ThinkEquity downgraded Emulex(ELX:NYSE) and Qlogic(QLGC:NASD) to equal-weight from overweight. Merrill Lynch also dropped Qlogic(QLGC:NASD) to a neutral from a buy. UBS downgrades Symantec(SYMC:NASD) to neutral from buy. JP Morgan upgraded Novellus(NVLS:NASD) to neutral from underweight.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Investors Intelligence(II) showed an increase in both bulls and bears this week as the percent bulls rose from 45.5 to 46 and percent bearish went from 23.2 in the week prior to 25 this week.

Bloomberg newswires report that Clear Channel(CCU:NYSE) may purchase up to $1 billion of its stock. In related news, it appears Clear Channel might have filled the void left after they canned Howard Stern announcing this morning that Jesse Jackson has signed a deal to do a weekly talk show.

According to CBS Marketwatch, a fire at a BP (BP: NYSE) oil refinery in Texas late last night was now under control. Officials at the third largest refinery in the country said they have no reason to believe it was a hostile attack at this point in time and although nobody was hurt in the fire, the complex was working at far reduced levels of production today.

Qlogic(QLGC:NASD) warned late last night saying they now see revenues of $128 million, 7-9% below guidance of $138 million to 141million. Their EPS is expected at the low end of .36-.39 range.
ON Semi(ONNN:NASD) announced last night a positive preannouncement.
Monsanto(MON:NYSE) topped estimates by 14cents.
SABRE Hldgs(TSG:NYSE) raised its 1st quarter and 2004 guidance.
Best Buy(BBY:NYSE) beat by $0.03 and guided its 1st quarter higher.
Circuit City(CC:NYSE) beat by 10 cents.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

Reuters reports that in a brave show of condemnation, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie labeled suicide attacks an obstacle to peace. Qurie's remarks represented the strongest official Palestinian condemnation of terrorist attacks against Israelis to date.

The Washington Post reports that the White House has finally agreed to allow National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to publicly testify under oath to the 9/11 commission. President Bush commented that the decision was made to allow Americans to have a more "complete picture" of the events that have led up to the attacks on 9/11. The one concession the White House said it had won was that this appearance by Rice would not set a precedent.

The BBC news reports that ten masked terrorists overpowered security guards and stole dynamite, detonators and ammonium nitrate from a quarry in Thailand. Police said a major attack could be in the planning stages for the Southern part of Thailand.

Have a great day.


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