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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:

Crude oil will remain in focus today as prices consequently spiked and world equity markets slipped overnight while the display of continued terrorism hit the news wires. Most European equities traded off nearly 2% including the DAX and CAC40 that were off 1.95% and 1.85% respectively ahead of the opening of equity trading on Wall Street. Asian markets felt the impact of the terrorism news from Iraq and Turkey and closed down 3.18% on the Nikkei and lost 2.74% in Hang Seng stocks.


Heads-up:

A couple of economic releases to focus on today. Following the May Empire Manufacturing number which showed a weakening manufacturing sector compared to its prior month and expectations, the data from the NAHB Housing Market Index is due out at 1pmEDT.

Brokerage Chatter:
Barron's printed a negative cover story on Fannie Mae(FNM:NYSE) over the weekend. Barron's also published its annual top and bottom five lists for equity investments. The top five consisted of Boston Scientific(BSX:NYSE), Country Wide Financial(CFC:NYSE), L-3 Communications(LLL:NYSE), D.R. Horton(DHI:NYSE), and Omnicare(OCR:NYSE) while rounding out the worst of the bunch included SunMicro(SUNW:NYSE), Winn-Dixie(WIN:NYSE), AT&T(T:NYSE), Quest(Q:NYSE), and El Paso(EP:NYSE). Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE) and Dell co.(DELL:NASD) also received positive mention over the weekend from Barrons.

JP Morgan added SAP AG(SAP:NYSE) to its Focus List. Prudential lowered its view of the Automakers sector to unfavorable from neutral and individually downgraded Ford(F:NYSE) and Daimler Chrysler(DCX:NYSE) to underweight from neutral weight. Raymond James upped BJ Services(BJS:NYSE) and also boosted National-Oilwell(NOI:NYSE) to strong buy from outperform while raising its price target to $35 from $32. JP Morgan also had a positive mention on the oil service sector and upgraded Noble Drilling(NE:NYSE) to overweight from neutral.

CSFB downgraded Merix(MERX:NASD) to underperform from neutral and slashed its target to $12 from $22. Goldman Sachs downgraded SanDisk(SNDK:NASD) to in-line from outperform while it upgraded Advanced Micro(AMD:NYSE) to outperform from in-line and revised up its 2005 estimates from $0.70 to $0.99. Bear Stearns upgraded BEA Systems(BEAS:NASD) to peer perform from underperform.


Financial Headlines:
Stories :
The Wall Street Journal reported that Nortel(NT:NYSE) gave its top executives cash bonuses prior to its March 10th warning and subsequent sell off.

According to the Economic Daily News, Chinatrust Commercial Bank, the largest private lender in Taiwan is in talks to acquire five U.S. regional banks in the hopes of expanding its dealings with US-based Taiwanese businesses.

A MetLife(MET:NYSE) unit reportedly received a 'Wells Notice' from the SEC.


Around the world in 80 ticks:
Bloomberg newswires report that world markets were jolted early this morning following the suicide car bomb attack that killed Iraqi governing council leader Izzedine Salim. In related news, four British owned HSBC banks were damaged from bombs that went off in Istanbul and Ankara ahead of Prime Minister Tony Blair's visit to Turkey today.

The Associated Press reports that the 9/11 committee will come to New York City today to examine the emergency response to the disaster from that infamous day. Families and commission members will convene the meeting on Tuesday by hearing detailed accounts of witness testimony from that day in addition to watching video footage of the attacks.

According to a CNN poll, support for Presidential hopeful John Kerry rose to 51% of likely voters compared to 46% for Bush. President Bush had show a slight edge over Kerry by two percentage points in February.

AFP news has reported that China has vowed to "crush" a Taiwan independent state at "any cost."

AP newswires reported the Bush administration was refuting the report in The New Yorker magazine that the U.S. government and Secretary Rumsfeld in particular approved of a secret plan which encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in order to get information and intelligence on the insurgency in Iraq.

According to the Wall Street Journal, sit-com star Ray Romano of Viacom's(VIA.B:NYSE) "Everybody Loves Raymond" will return for a final season and is expected to cash in $1.5-$2 million per episode for 16 episodes making him the highest paid sitcom star ever.


Fokker



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