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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
European markets staggered along today as the Spanish Ibex was the main laggard losing 0.67%. Japan came back from its day off and played some catchup by quickly dropping 2% on its session while the Hang Seng lost a half of a percent. Spot gold tried to rebound after the sour week it has had gaining $1.5 leading up to trading on Wall Street this morning.

At 9:45am Beaks will be by to bring the revision to Michigan consumer sentiment for April, and at 10:00am we get the Chicago purchasing managers' index for April.

Brokerage Chatter:
Banc of America had some positive comments on EMC Corp.(EMC:NYSE) and defended them by saying the sell-off in shares is unwarranted. McKesson(MCK:NYSE) was downgraded at Raymond James to market perform from outperform but upgraded at Bear Stearns from peer perform to outperform. Hanover Compressor(HC:NYSE) was upped to hold from sell at Smith Barney and now has a price target at $13 versus $10. UBS lowered its price target to $6.75 from $9 on Extreme Networks(EXTR:NASD).

Morgan Stanley downgraded Pattterson-UTI(PTEN:NASD) to equal-weight from overweight. Banc of America upped Bioval(BVF:NYSE) to neutral from sell and raised its target to $19.50 from $15. Lehman upgraded Sprint(FON:NYSE) to equal-weight from underweight. Freeport-McMoRan(FCX:NYSE) was upgraded to outperform from sector perform at RBC. EchoStar(DISH:NASD) upgraded at JP Morgan to overweight from neutral. Deutsche Bank downgraded Foundry(FDRY:NASD) to hold from buy.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :

According to AMG data, equity funds reported net cash inflows of $1.6 billion in the week ended April 28 as 39% went to Domestic funds as opposed to 64% last week.

Conseco(CNO:NYSE), debacle du jour, preannounced its 1st quarter earnings to the lower end of its estimated range. Although its earnings are due out next week, a highly anticipated secondary offering of $575 million mandatory convertible preferred and 44 million common shares (Goldman Sachs is the lead underwriter) had to be pulled because of this morning's pre-earnings press release.

Reuters reported that according to the South China Morning Post which cited banking officials in the country, following a week long holiday beginning May 1st, the government will raise commercial bank lending rates by half a percentage point.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Fed may have been responding to a false alarm when it cut interest rates last year and held them there over fears of deflation.

AnnTaylor(ANN:NYSE) announced a 3-for-2 stock split.

Chevron(CVX:NYSE) beat by 35cents.
H & R Block(HRB:NYSE) boosted its 2004 estimates to high end of the range.
Cigna(CI:NYSE) beat by $0.04.
Archer-Daniels(ADM:NYSE) beat by $0.06.
Anadarko Petro(APC:NYSE) beat by $0.33.
Biogen Idec(BIIB:NASD) beat by $0.06.
Gateway(GTW:NYSE) missed by $0.02 and guided its 2nd quarter below consensus.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

The Associated Press reported that a purported broadcast via an Islamic web site of Al Qaeda honcho Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi refuted the claims by Jordanian authorities that his terrorist group was behind a chemical weapons plot. The voice was quoted as saying that "the (allegation) that there was a chemical bomb to kill thousands of people is a mere lie." The Islamic subscribers to the site commented that he may be a murderer but at least he has integrity.

According to the Washington Post, US government officials and lawmakers will attempt to punish Syria over failed promises in Iraq.

Reuters reported that Paul Bremer, head of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, warned the Bush administration six months prior to the 9/11 attacks that not enough attention was being paid to terrorism.

CNN reports that Michael Jackson will get arraigned today in a California court, as the man that made fortunes with hits like "Beat It" and "Billy Jean" will hear child molestation charges of a 12 year old boy. If convicted, Jackson will find himself singing those songs with a different tune of up to 20 years in prison.

Enjoy your weekend!


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