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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
Europe was weaker this morning and took its initial nose-dive on the U.S. payroll data released earlier. Check out Brian Reynolds comments for more on that. Prior to the open of US equities, treasuries were screaming higher. 10 year futures climbed about 2 points while equity futures finished the pre-open session down 6.5 handles. The Japanese Nikkei gained 1.19% today while the Hang Seng closed nearly unchanged on its session.

More economic news out today at 3pmEDT when the government releases the January Consumer Credit report. Expectations are for $5 billion. Earnings remain light. Some headliners for next week include Echo Star(DISH:NASD), Krispy Kreme(KKD:NYSE), and National Semi(NSM:NYSE).

Brokerage Chatter:

Prudential changed its view on steel this morning. Individually Pru downgraded Nucor(NUE:NYSE) to neutral-weight from overweight and cut its price target to $65 from $88, and dropped US Steel(X:NYSE) to underweight from neutral-weight and cut their target to $28 from $33. Lehman upped Conexant(CNXT:NASD) to overweight from equal-weight and raised its price target to $10 from $6. Piper Jaffray downgraded Affymetrix(AFFX:NASD) to market perform from outperform however it raised its target to $37 from $30.

Merrill Lynch added QLogic (QLGC:NASD) to its Focus 1 list. Deutsche Bank upgraded Qualcomm(QCOM:NASD) to buy from hold and raised its target to $70 from $58. Deutsche also upped Powerwave(PWAV:NASD) to hold from sell and raised its target to $9 from $7.50. Sun Microsystems(SUNW:NASD) had its credit rating cut to junk at Standard and Poors.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :

AMG data report that Equity funds show net cash inflows totaling $3.9 billion for the week ended March. 59% of that went to domestic equity funds or $2.3 billion.

According to the New York Post, Walt Disney(DIS:NYSE) shareholders might try and force a second annual meeting in the near future and hold a second vote to oust Eisner adding that many are still upset that Eisner will continue at Disney as a CEO. The Wall Street Journal reported that Eisner has no plans on quitting his role at the company and praised the board's decision.

Boston Scientific(BSX:NYSE) announced last night that the FDA has given approval for its TAXUS coronary stent.

Flextronics(FLEX:NASD) mid quarter update gave no change to its prior guidance.
Intel(INTC:NASD) said last night that it had narrowed its revenue range below consensus to $8-8.2 billion from Street consensus of about $8.27 billion.
McDonald's(MCD:NYSE) reported a 20% increase in U.S. comps for February.
TiVo(TIVO:NASD) beat by $0.06.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

According to the New York Times, U.S. officials claim that Russian engineers had secretly aided Saddam Hussein's ballistic missile program in both Moscow and Baghdad. Other sources added the investigators discovered that the Russians were in Baghdad as recently as 2001.

Reuters reports that as a result of a 14-month investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and FBI, nine merchant mariners were found to potentially have connections to terrorists. While little information has been given out about these suspects, Coastguard spokeswoman, Jolie Shifflet said "We've taken steps to mitigate the potential risks posed by these individuals."

Reuters reports that Amnesty International has issued a statement today that the level of abuses women in the world have been subjected to has reached "terrifying" proportions. The report that was issued by Irene Khan of Amnesty claims that in the U.S. a woman was beaten by her spouse or partner on average every 15 seconds and one was raped every 90 seconds. The report added that in France, 25,000 women were raped each year while in many other parts of the world, women are left in poverty due to economic globalization.

Have a terrific weekend.


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