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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
European markets were trading unchanged to slightly lower today while the Japanese Nikkei gave back nearly 1%. The Hang Seng added a few points on its session. The Dollar yen was trading up 1.10 while spot gold had added $1.

Heads-up:

Look out at 10amEDT for the existing home sales from March. Earnings after the bell include Aflac(AFL:NYSE), Flextronics(FLEX:NASD), Maxim(MXIM:NASD), McDonalds(MCD:NYSE), NetIQ(NTIQ:NASD) and RF Micro(RFMD:NASD).


Brokerage Chatter:

DaimlerChrysler(DCX:NYSE) was upgraded at Morgan Stanley to overweight from equal weight. CSFB was positive on Gap Stores(GPS:NYSE) and increased its price target to $23 from $18. Chubb(CB:NYSE) was upped to buy from hold at Legg Mason. Lazard raised its price target for Genentech(DNA:NYSE) to $144 from $124. Piper Jaffray raised its target on Corinthian Colleges(COCO:NASD) to $40 from $36. Eastman Chem(EMN:NYSE) was cut to hold from buy at Smith Barney. Thomas Weisel raised its target on Express Scripts(ESRX:NASD) to $83 from $73.


Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Bloomberg newswires report that OPEC, which is responsible for nearly a third of the world's crude oil production, is considering increasing its target price by 30 percent from its current range of $22 to $28 a barrel. According to the president of OPEC, the main reason cited for the increase is that the largest consuming countries can afford to pay more for oil. While OPEC's basket of crude oil stands at about $32.87, the average over the past 12 months was just over $28 a barrel. As a point of reference, the West Texas Intermediate(WTI), which makes up the NYMEX deliverable contract closed yesterday at $36.97 a barrel.

Bloomberg newswires report that United Health(UNH:NYSE) and Oxford Health(OHP:NYSE) last night agreed to merge for $1.4 billion cash and 54.7 million shares in stock forming the number one health care provider in the tri-state area. As a result of the merger, OHP announced its earnings early, beating estimates by 3 cents on revenues of $1.41 billion versus First Call of $1.387 billion.

Reebok(RBK:NYSE) announced they will issue $300 million in convertibles.

Earnings:
Chicago Mercantile Exchange(CME:NYSE) reported 1st quarter number better than the Street by 13 cents.
BJ Services(BJS:NYSE) beat by $0.05.
U.S. Steel(X:NYSE) beat by $0.09.
Baker Hughes(BHI:NYSE) beat by 3 cents.
Placer Dome(PDG:NYSE) reported a penny better than consensus.
Chubb(CB:NYSE) reported earnings 19cents better than expectations.
Imclone(IMCL:NASD) beat 59cents on revenues of $109.6 million versus First Call of $62.22 million.
Taiwan Semi(TSM:NYSE) released their cash flow numbers in error ahead of its official release this Friday. Net income was better as well as gross margins however Bear Stearns analysts are pointing to operating margins as slightly worse than expected.
Paccar(PCAR:NASD) beat by $0.14.
MedImmune(MEDI:NASD) guided its 2nd quarter down following its FluMist reacquisition from Wyeth(WYE:NYSE).
T. Rowe Price(TROW:NASD) beat by $0.02.
Verizon(VZ:NYSE) beat by a penny.
DuPont(DD:NYSE) beat by $0.01.


Around the world in 80 ticks:

Reuters reports that an audio tape has emerged which is purportedly from a senior Saudi Al Qaeda leader warning attacks against American interests this year would be "fierce" and urged all Muslims to avoid American civilian and military sites. In related news, CNN has reported that officials from Jordan say they have thwarted a major chemical attack by breaking up a plot to attack the U.S. embassy.

AP news reports that Princeton University faculty has approved of a plan yesterday that will they hope will curb the rising grades students have been receiving. Princeton faculty decided to implement the nation's first college or university to fight "grade inflation" by doling out the A's in a more frugal manner. In comparison to other Ivy League schools, in 2001, Harvard reportedly had 91% of its students graduate with honors in one form or another.

In a report released by two environmental groups yesterday, New York's infamous harbor, once filled with more boots, bottles, and tin cans than marine life, was cited as having seen a dramatic improvement in cleanliness in recent decades. The Associated Press reports that New York's waters have seen a 10-fold decrease in the amount of PCB's and various other toxins, however, officials stopped at urging New Yorkers to resume fishing and swimming in the waters citing sewage and industrial discharges as an ongoing concern.


Have a great day.

Fokker



position in mcd, bhi, vz, pdg, cb
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