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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:

Global markets were trending higher today ahead of the US equity open. While the Japanese markets remained closed, the Hang Seng lost over 1% during its trading session. Spot gold and treasuries were slightly higher early on while the Dollar Index and Japanese Yen were in the red and near their session lows.

Heads-up:

Lookout for the ISM non-manufacturing for April due out at 10amEDT. EMC Corp.(EMC:NYSE) will be hosting its annual shareholders meeting today.

Brokerage Chatter:
Sanford Bernstein upgraded Bristol Myers(BMY:NYSE) to outperform from market perform, but cut its target to $33 from $35. Tenet Healthcare(THC:NYSE) was upped to neutral from underweight at Prudential. Morgan Stanley upped Bank of New York(BK:NYSE) to overweight from equal-weight. Vishay(VSH:NYSE) was upped to strong buy from buy at Needham. Deutsche Bank upgraded Sprint(FON:NYSE) to buy from hold.

Banc of America lowered its view of the Oilfield Service sector to underweight from overweight. St. Paul Travelers(STA:NYSE) was upped to buy from hold at AG Edwards. Prudential upgraded Morgan Stanley(MWD:NYSE) to overweight form neutral-weight. Research In Motion(RIMM:NASD) was upgraded to outperform from peer perform at Bear Stearns. JMP upgraded Micron Tech(MU:NYSE) to strong buy from market outperform. Banc of America boosted Dell co.(DELL:NASD) to buy from neutral, raised its 2005-2006 estimates and lifted its price target to $40 from $35.


Financial Headlines:
Stories :
The weekly Investor's Intelligence figures showed the percent of bulls declined from 50% to 46.4% and the percentage of bears saw a climb from 22.4% to 23.7% from last week.

Bloomberg newswires reports that last night that Royal Bank of Scotland's unit Citizens Financial Group announced it will purchase Charter One Financial(CF:NYSE) for $10.5 billion or $44.50 a share.

The FOMC yesterday announced they will keep fed funds rate target unchanged at 1% while the most recently watched word "patient" was removed from the Fed's official statement consequently sending plenty of volatility through the bond markets in the afternoon session.

Western Digital(WDC:NYSE) authorized a $100 million stock buyback program.

The New York Times reports that Libya will open 8 oil projects for bidding during the middle of this year.

TXU Corp(TXU:NYSE) filed a $2 billion mixed shelf.

Earnings:
Prudential(PRU:NYSE) reported EPS of $0.74 topping estimates of 73cents.
Orbitz(ORBZ:NASD) beat by $0.04.
Legg Mason(LM:NYSE) beat by $0.07.
CVS Corp(CVS:NYSE) beat
by $0.03
Beverly Enterprises(BEV:NYSE) beat by $0.09.
Hartford Financial(HIG:NYSE) topped estimates by $0.23 and raised its 2004 guidance.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
According to SKY news, Israeli air force jets were striking targets in the southern part of Lebanon. The Israeli attack followed its planes being shot at by anti-aircraft rounds from the Lebanese military.

The Washington Times reports President Bush will sit down with two Arab TV networks today to denounce the abuses by US soldiers in Iraq. Two separate interviews will be given to US-backed Al Hurra television and the other with Al Arabiya based out of the United Arab Emirates. In related news, Reuters has reported that the US revealed that two Iraqi prisoners were murdered by American soldiers as the prisoner scandal continues to grow.

Reuters reports that three bombs exploded this morning outside a police station in the middle of Athens. While nobody was hurt, the fact that the attacks have come 100 days before the start of the Olympic Games on August 13th in the Greek capital has got authorities scrambling. The Greek government has reportedly spent over 1 billion euros on security and said that it will not allow foreign troops on Greek soil to accompany national teams adding that if that were to occur, it would turn the games into a militarized affair.

According to the Hollywood trade paper Daily Variety, the Walt Disney Co.(DIS:NYSE) has taken measures to stop its Miramax Films unit from distributing a new film called "Fahrenheit 911," that apparently puts President Bush in a bad light. Filmmaker Michael Moore, who won an academy award for "Bowling for Columbine", produced a documentary that links Bush to powerful Saudi families as well as the infamous Osama bin Laden. The paper alleges the film was scheduled for July release; however it is not currently listed on Miramax's summer release itinerary.

The New York Times has reported that American prisons have been infiltrated by radical brands of Islam to the extent that counterterrorism officials have been alerted. An investigation has concluded that Al-Qaeda has most likely been attempting to use our prisons against us by "radicalizing and recruiting" inmates.

ABC online has reported that the once clean California porn industry has now been hit with yet another HIV infection following last month's shut down due to an announcement that three stars had revealed they had contracted the virus.


Have a great day!

Fokker



position in mwd, fon, bk, vsh, bmy, txu, cvs
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