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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
European markets were getting hit today as the DAX lost 0.80%, the CAC40 gave up 1% and the Spanish Ibex lost 1.2% ahead of the open in New York. Spot Gold was seeing early weakness on speculation by some that China was artificially curbing the growth of its economy as the yellow metal lost over $6. The US dollar index was rallying slightly in contrast ahead of the open on Wall Street.

Heads-up:
No economic data to speak of today but lookout tomorrow for data on the GDP, Personal consumption, Employment Cost Index(ECI), Jobless claims and the help wanted index.

On the equity front, General Electric(GE:NYSE) will be hosting its shareholders meeting today. Time Warner(TWX:NYSE), JDS Uniphase(JDSU:NASD), LSI Logic(LSI:NYSE) and Qlogic(QLGC:NASD), report after the bell today.


Brokerage Chatter:

Bear Stearns raised its 2004 S&P 500 earnings target to $63.25 from $62.00 citing strong economic growth, productivity and "spectacular" 1st quarter earnings results. Comcast Corp(CMCSA:NASD) was upgraded at Merrill Lynch to buy from neutral. Bear Stearns upped Eaton(ETN:NYSE) to outperform from peer perform. TXU Corp(TXU:NYSE) was upped to buy from hold at AG Edwards. Legg Mason upgraded Emulex(ELX:NYSE) to buy from hold.

Deutsche Bank upgraded Maxim Integrated(MXIM:NASD) to hold from sell. Zoran (ZRAN:NASD) was upped to buy from hold at AG Edwards. Merrill Lynch downgraded Dean Foods(DF:NYSE) to neutral from buy. Piper Jaffray upgraded McDonalds(MCD:NYSE) to outperform from market perform and raised its target to $34 from $28. Morgan Stanley downgraded BJ Services(BJS:NYSE) to equal weight from overweight. Smith Barney downgraded Micron Tech(MU:NYSE) to sell from buy and cut its target to $12 from $21.


Financial Headlines:
Stories :
According to Bloomberg news, China has asked 11 of its major national banks to halt all lending until May 1st in an effort to tighten the supply of money. Analysts feel new rules will be rolled out at that time and that could stifle the world's 6th largest economy. This could have potentially added to if not served as the main catalyst for the sell off in spot gold prices this morning.

Bloomberg newswires report that Comcast(CMCSA:NASD) announced it has dropped its $54.1 billion unsolicited bid for Disney(DIS:NYSE) and will discuss its decision in a 10amEDT conference call.

According to securities regulators, Janus Capital Group(JNS:NYSE) has agreed to pay $100 million in fines and restitution to investors. Janus will also reduce its fees by $125 million to settle accusations over alleged abusive mutual fund trading.


Earnings:
McDonalds(MCD:NYSE)) reported 1st quarter EPS in line on better revenues of $4.40 billion versus consensus of $4.27 billion.
Constellation Energy(CEG:NYSE) reported 66 cents versus First Call estimate of 57 cents.
Hilton Hotels(HLT:NYSE) beat by $0.04.
Boeing(BA:NYSE) beat by $0.22.
ConocoPhillips(COP:NYSE) beats by $0.34.
Newmont Mining(NEM:NYSE) missed by $0.04 but topped revenue estimates with $1.14 billion versus $890 million.
Louisiana-Pacific(LPX:NYSE) missed by 18 cents.
Energizer(ENR:NYSE) beat by $0.06.
Estee Lauder(EL:NYSE) beat by $0.08 and guided its 2004 estimates above consensus.
Phelps Dodge(PD:NYSE) beat by $0.23.
Kerr-McGee(KMG:NYSE) topped estimates by $0.18 and beat revenue estimates as well.
Sealed Air(SEE:NYSE) beat by $0.06.
Dynegy(DYN:NYSE) topped estimates by 15 cents.
Bowater(BOW:NYSE) beat by $0.06.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

The Washington Times reported that the U.S. warned Qatar that its relationship between the two nations is being damaged as a result of Qatar-based Al Jazeera "false" and "inflammatory" anti-American coverage of Iraq.

According to Arab-press Al-Hayat, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud was quoted as saying both his country and the United States in particular supported the Al Qaeda terrorist network during its fight with the Soviet Union during its occupation of Afghanistan.



Have a great day.

Fokker



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