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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:

European markets were mixed to down today with the Spanish IBEX leading the upside charge with a 0.50% gain. The Asian markets however, turned in an impressive performance today as the Nikkei gained nearly 2% and the Hang Seng gained 2.08%. Spot gold was much firmer today gaining $6 as the dollar index was slipping below its 200 day moving average and lost nearly 1% ahead over the open to equity trading on Wall Street.

No major earnings releases expected today while the so-called triple-witching takes shape today. However looking ahead to a quiet week next week, lookout for Medtronic(MDT:NYSE), Krispey Kreme(KKD:NYSE), Agil software(AGIL:NASD), Tivo(TIVO:NASD), Toll Brothers(TOL:NYSE), Take Two(TTWO:NASD) and Shuffle Master(SHFL:NASD).

There'll be little economic activity to focus on today and Monday but the next week's data will get busy starting Tuesday with the Home sales and confidence figures expected.

Brokerage Chatter:

CSFB upgraded Ensco(ESV:NYSE) to outperform from neutral. Smith Barney upgraded Tellabs(TLAB:NASD) to buy from hold. Goldman Sachs upped its rating of the Lodging sector to attractive from neutral, and individually upped Starwood Hotels(HOT:NYSE) to outperform from in-line. Rite Aid(RAD:NYSE) was upgraded to buy from neutral at UBS. Merrill Lynch had some negative comments for Nvidia's(NVDA:NASD) margins.

CSFB upgraded Kraft(KFT:NYSE) to outperform from neutral. Morgan Stanley upgraded Smurfit Stone(SSCC:NASD) to overweight from equal-weight. Merrill Lynch upgraded ADC Telecom(ADCT:NASD) to buy from neutral. CIBC upgraded Morgan Stanley(MWD:NYSE) to outperform from sector perform. Morgan Stanley cut Nokia(NOK:NYSE) to underweight from equal-weight.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
The Semi equipment industry book-to-bill ratio rose to 1.14 in April on bookings that exceeded March by 15.6%.

According to the New York Times, OPEC said yesterday that there was little the cartel could do to lower fuel prices in the near future adding that the sharp rise in prices was due to factors beyond its control.

The WSJ reported that Richard Strong agreed along with his firm to a $175 million settlement of state and federal allegations. Mr. Strong himself will pay $60 million of the fines and will issue a heart-felt apology and agreed to be barred from the industry for life.

Steel Dynamics(STLD:NASD) raised its 2nd-qtr and its full year forecasts.
Gap Inc(GPS:NYSE) beat by $0.02.
McDATA(MCDATA:NASD) beat by a penny.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
AP news reports that Russia, the last of the major economies still outside the trade bloc received the backing of the EU for entry into the World Trade Organization.

BBC news reports the last of the Spanish soldiers retreated from Iraq today fulfilling the election pledge of Spanish PM Zapatero. While the bulk of the Spanish troops left Iraq in April, the fear that other European countries would follow was dismissed as the Italian soldiers, which represent the third largest force in the coalition were adamant that they will be staying on.

CNN is reporting that the FBI has issued a warning of possible suicide attacks in its weekly bulletin that gets distributed to 18,000 agencies. The bulletin said officials should be looking out for people that are wearing bulky jackets on a warm day, smelling of chemicals, and individuals that have their fist tightly clenched. Officials added that suicide bombers are nearly impossible to detect and with no advance intelligence, "soft targets" such as shopping malls are the hardest to protect.

Have a great weekend.


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