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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
Global markets were weaker today led in part by the DAX and Spanish IBEX. Deutsche Bank commented that its stock would not be a takeover target and that has soured shares. Additionally, German autos showed weakness across the board and that has weighed on the DAX during today's session. The DAX was down over 1% leading into the US equity open. US equities were trading approximately unchanged ahead of the open on Wall Street.

Heads-up:
The economic front remains light today but a few conferences and meetings are scheduled. Intel(INTC:NASD) will be hosting a INTC Solutions Summit in Las Vegas. Bear Stearns hosts its 17th Annual Media, Entertainment & Information Conference. Deutsche Bank Securities has its Information Technology Hardware Conference. Analog Devices will be holding a shareholders meeting today as well. Earnings highlight after the bell from Ann Taylor(ANN:NYSE). Tomorrow's earnings of note include Krispy Kreme(KKD:NYSE), Comverse Tech(CMVT:NASD), and Tech Data(TECD:NASD).

Brokerage Chatter:
Needham upgraded Sycamore Networks(SCMR:NASD) to hold from underperform. Schwab Soundview initiated United Online(UNTD:NASD) with an outperform and $24 target. Wells Fargo intiated Gilead Sciences(GILD:NASD) with a buy and target price of $70. JP Morgan downgraded Travelers(TAP.B:NYSE) to underweight from neutral. Morgan Stanley downgraded Cablevision(CVC:NYSE) to equal-weight from overweight.

Lehman upgraded Agilent(A:NYSE) to overweight from equal-weight and raised their target to $46 from $27. Raymond James upped Verisign(VRSN:NASD) to outperform from market perform. Banc of America downgraded Sun Microsystems(SUNW:NASD) to neutral from buy and cut its target to $5 from $6.25. Lehman downgraded Enterasys Networks(ETS:NYSE) to equal-weight from overweight. PeopleSoft(PSFT:NASD) had its numbers trimmed over at Cowan and McDonalds(MCD:NYSE) had its price target taken up slightly at Bear Stearns. Cowan also made some takeover chatter in regard to Nextel(NXTL:NASD) from Sprint PCS(PCS:NYSE).


Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Bloomberg newswires report that Deutsche Bank(DB:NYSE) CEO Ackermann, made comments today that the German financial was "not ready" for merger now and ruled out any potential unfriendly takeover as well.

According to the Chicago Tribune, George Soros and a Democratic backed group plans on airing anti-Bush ad campaigns.

Reuters has reported that EchoStar(DISH:NASD) cut off CBS programming, a unit of Viacom(VIA.B:NYSE) as of midnight Pacific Time last night from approximately 1.6 million DISH customers. A total of 16 local markets and 10 national stations which include Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, and Nickelodeon have been affected as a result of the breakdown in the two companies' negotiations on their ongoing contract dispute. As of September when the current TV season began, CBS has been America's most watched network according to Neilsen ratings. With an upcoming NCAA basketball tournament set to tip off, some are speculating this could be resolved soon.

General Electric(GE:NYSE) priced its $3.8 billion shares last night at $31.83.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Halliburton(HAL:NYSE) made remarks in its 10k that its liquidity could be materially affected if the government forced them to refund or withhold billings for a large portion of its Iraqi contracts.

Earnings:
Texas Instruments(TXN:NYSE) said last night that it sees its 1st quarter EPS at $0.19-$0.22 versus its consensus of $0.19. TXN added that its revenues are now looking at 2.835-2.95 billion versus its previous consensus of $2.85 billion.
Nike(NKE:NYSE) citing strong revenue growth, issued a positive pre-announcement saying its 3rd quarter which was expected to come in around $0.64 now sees its profit between 71 cents and 74 cents a share.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

BBC News reports that Pakistan has test-fired a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could hit targets deep within nearby India.

According to the Associated Press and the LA Times, University officials at UCLA's medical research program admitted yesterday that some of the body parts it had on hand had been hacked up and sold illegally to medical research centers, allegedly charging an arm and a leg. Officials did not elaborate as to how many parts had been sold or how long this practice had been going on, but according to some reports, the university's Willed body Program had been doing this for at least 6 years. The program had been under suspicion since its director and support staff was arrested over the weekend.

In an alarming turn of events for European music swappers, the European Union is set to vote today on new legislation that applies the "EU Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive." According to BBC news, excessive and blatant song swappers could have their homes raided and property seized.


Have a great day.

Fokker

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