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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:

Global markets were charging higher after crude in London slid on the heels of the early handover of power in Iraq. The DAX had gained 1.35% leading much of the region higher. In Asia, the Nikkei added 0.88% while the Hang Seng posted a modest 0.07% gain on its session.

Heads up:

Quiet earnings and economic news due out for later today and looking ahead to the rest of the week, we'll be checking into earnings from Research In Motion(RIMM:NASD), General Mills(GIS:NYSE) and Monsanto(MON:NYSE). On the economic front, Consumer Confidence, Chicago Purchasing Manager, Claims data and ISM Manufacturing numbers will be in focus.

Starting tomorrow, the FOMC will begin its two day meeting in which most market participants are expecting a quarter point rate hike announced on Wednesday.

Brokerage Chatter:

Barron's over the weekend highlighted positively Heinz(HNZ:NYSE) and Kohl's(KSS:NYSE) however offered negative comments for Taser(TASR:NASD) after the stock gained on Friday due to speculation that Sharper Image(SHRP:NASD) might carry its guns. The irony that Barron's highlighted showed a gain in market cap for TASR that nearly equaled the entire market cap for Sharper Image. Banc of America raised its 4th quarter and 2005 EPS estimates for Apollo Group(APOL:NASD) and took up its price target as well to $105 from $95. Oppenheimer upgraded Fox Ent.(FOX:NYSE) to buy from neutral.

Apple Computer(AAPL:NASD) was upped to outperform from peer perform at Piper Jaffray and had its price target raised to $40 from $32. Smith Barney upped Teva Pharm(TEVA:NASD) to buy from hold and raised its target to $83 from $75. Goldman Sachs downgraded Pepsico(PEP:NYSE) to in-line from outperform. Wal-Mart(WMT:NYSE) was upped to buy from neutral at Fulcrum. Lehman upgraded Monsanto(MON:NYSE) to equal-weight from underweight and raised its target to $35 from $24. Lehman downgraded the Biotechnology sector to neutral from positive. Wendy's(WEN:NYSE) was cut to hold from buy at Smith Barney.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :

According to the UK's The Independent, the Bank of England is warning that the global economy could fall back into recession because of the growing risk that a sudden correction could trigger instability in a market place filled with large sums of money run by inexperienced hedge fund managers.

The Financial times reports that because of a European interim assessment on China which found far too much government interference in the economy as well as poor corporate governance, the European Union will not recognize them with "market economy status." Despite the heavy lobbying of China's premier, the 15 page report found that they met only one of the five stated criterion. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that for the first time in modern history, last year China drew more foreign direct investment than did the U.S. In related news, the Prime Minister of Portugal was confirmed yesterday as the next European Commission president.

Allegheny Tech(ATI:NYSE) boosted its outlook for the 2nd quarter.
Watson Pharm(WPI:NYSE) guided its 2nd quarter below consensus.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

BBC News reports that the handover of control to Iraq occurred two days early surprising many including the stock exchanges and possibly a couple of the terrorist insurgents. Prime Minister of Iraq Iyad Allawi said it was a "historic day" and added it was a day all Iraqis were looking forward to for a long time. In a low key ceremony, Allawi and his government were sworn into office as U.S. administrator Paul Bremer skipped town back to America.

A U.S. Marine went missing in Iraq over the weekend and according to a tape released by al-Jazeera, the soldier who also happens to be a Muslim, was among a Pakistani and three Turks to have been kidnapped and threatened with beheading.

The Washington Post reported that the CIA has suspended its harsh interrogation practices which have been highlighted negatively in the past couple of months.

AP news reported that the politically charged "President Bush assault" documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" took in $21.8 million over its first three days in release becoming in the process the first of its genre to debut as the top grossing film. The former record was set at $21.6 million by Michael Moore's former Academy Award winning documentary "Bowling for Columbine." When Moore was asked about this past weekend's success he thanked the people that attempted to block the release adding that it only encouraged movie goers. ``I want to thank all the right-wing organizations out there who tried to stop the film, either from their harassment campaign that didn't work on the theater owners, or going to the FEC to get our ads removed from television, to all the things that have been said on television."

Have a great day.


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