The Fokker Chronicles
European markets were trading lower today led in part by the CAC40 and DAX. Asian stocks finished modestly higher as the Nikkei added 0.31% and the Hang Seng tacked on 0.18% to finish the week. Spot gold was retreating nearly $1 per ounce while the dollar index traded higher ahead of the U.S. equity open.
More economic data is set to hit the tape this morning: the University of Michigan confidence number is expected out at 9:50amEDT with expectations for 95. Existing Home Sales for May will get reported shortly after that at 10amEDT.
Morgan Stanley raised its price target on Boeing(BA:NYSE) to $60 from $50. Forest Labs(FRX:NYSE) was cut to underperform at Goldman Sachs from in-line while also cutting its 2005-06 EPS estimates. AT&T(T:NYSE) was cut to market perform from outperform at Friedman Billings and dropped its price target to $18 from $23. Jefferies downgraded Ratheon(RTN:NYSE) to hold from buy.
Merrill Lynch upgraded Lyondell Chem.(LYO:NYSE) to buy from neutral and raised its 2004-05 estimates. Four Seasons(FS:NYSE) was upgraded by Bear Stearns to outperform from peer perform. Morgan Stanley upped HCA Healthcare(HCA:NYSE) to overweight from equal-weight. Smith Barney upgraded Rohm and Hass(ROH:NYSE) to buy from hold and raised its target to $47 from $40. RW Baird dropped Wells Fargo(WFC:NYSE) to neutral from outperform.
Countrywide(CFC:NYSE) declared a 2 for 1 stock split.
Pixar Animation(PIXR:NASD) named Yahoo!(YHOO:NASD) CFO Susan Decker to its board of directors.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Lockheed Martin(LMT:NYSE) $1.66 billion acquisition of Titan Corp(TTN:NYSE) might be on the fences now after Titan said it didn't expect a plea agreement with the Justice Department over alleged bribery scandal could be reached by today's deadline. LMT did not comment whether they would terminate the merger agreement.
According to the Wall Street Journal, DHL is planning on spending $1.2 billion in an effort to compete more with FedEx(FDX:NYSE) and United Parcel(UPS:NYSE).
Nike(NKE:NYSE) beat by $0.05 and authorized a $1.5 billion share buyback.
Verity(VRTY:NASD) beat by $0.03 and guided its 1st quarter of 2005 below consensus estimates.
Around the world in 80 ticks:
According to a new CNN-USA Today Gallup poll released yesterday, 54% of Americans said they thought the war in Iraq was a mistake up from early June's poll of 41% that felt discouraged by the war.
BBC news reports that the Saudi Kingdom will ease off a ban to foreigners carrying handguns after the sweeping violence lately. According to the Interior Minister, expatriates who are fearful of their safety could obtain a weapons permit while Saudi officials continue to claim they are doing everything within their power to contain the violence and bring the militants to justice, or beheading, whichever comes first.
Just under a week before newly appointed Iraqi Prime minister Iyad Allawi and his interim government was to assume power, BBC news reported that Allawi has vowed to stamp out the militants that have stepped up their attacks in recent days. Approximately 100 people were murdered yesterday from extremist attacks.
In a further show of defiance and escalation of North Korea's nuclear banter, Pyongyang has made additional threats of carrying out nuclear tests if its demands for aid are not met. The warnings come as negotiators and representatives from neighboring countries were meeting for talks in China yesterday. AP news cited members from the six nation countries meeting this week as commenting that those threats while unwelcome will not sidetrack them from their discussions and progress.
In a celebrity stunt to drum up attention to its new high-stakes tables, the Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City tried its hand at life imitating art by using a handful of pooches to re-create the famous painting of dogs playing poker by C.M. Coolidge. The actor mutts, who are apparently widely known in dog circles for their roles in various advertising, TV and movie roles were ushered up to a blackjack table by trainers and then given free reign to pursue their gambling habits. The dogs would bark to ask for cards although they were given some guidance and command from their trainers. According to some eyewitness accounts, while Lucky Louise was more interested in the taste of her own chips instead of their value, Jack Attack drew attention from the pit bosses for card counting. Tiny Chip slipped under the radar and left with the most chips and biscuits.
Have a great day.
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