The Fokker Chronicles
European markets were mixed to lower today ahead of some important data later in the day. Asian markets were sour as the Japanese Nikkei lost 1.91% and the Hang Seng gave up 2.23%. Spot gold was up $1 and London Brent crude oil was adding some gains ahead of the open of trading on Wall Street.
A couple of big events to look out for today other than the National Spelling Bee. The OPEC ministers will be meeting today in Beirut and it's expected to be fairly heated. Iran had put forth the idea for a two-staged supply increase, adding 1.5 million barrels this month with the possibility of bumping up production further at a later meeting. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest producer wanted an immediate hike in OPEC's supply ceiling of up to 2.5 million barrels.
Intel(INTC:NASD) will provide its anticipated mid quarter update this afternoon with a conference call scheduled for 5:30pmEDT. Intel's current revenue guidance is $7.6 billion to $8.2 billion., While Bear Stearns indicated Intel could tighten that range toward the higher end, Merrill's Joseph Osha thinks it will reduce the highest sales forecasts to $8 billion.
Lookout at 10amEDT for economic releases on the April Factory Orders and May ISM Non-Manufacturing data.
Hartford Financial(HIG:NYSE) was downgraded at Banc of America from buy to neutral. Automatic Data(ADP:NYSE) was started with an outperform rating at Soundview. Banc of America downgraded Allstate(ALL:NYSE) to neutral from buy. Bear Stearns downgraded Brinker Intl(EAT:NYSE) to peer perform from outperform.
Merrill Lynch upped Genuine Parts(GPC:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Banc of America also downgraded Research in Motion(RIMM:NASD) to neutral from buy. Deutsche raised its estimates for a handful of European semiconductor firms. Merrill Lynch had some slightly negative chatter on ebay(EBAY:NASD) while Bear Stearns was positive on some of the semi cap equipment names highlighting Lam Research(LRCX:NASD) as its favorite in the sector.
Although there has been some speculation within the Asian press that China could raise its interest rate, the China Central Bank told Bloomberg that they have no plans to do so.
According to Bloomberg newswires, Merrill Lynch(MER:NYSE) could get more than $6.4 billion for its money-management unit.
Phelps Dodge(PD:NYSE) said it would reinstate its 25cent cash dividend payments starting at the record date close of business on August 13th.
Hovnanian(HOV:NYSE) beat the Street by 3 cents while increasing its guidance for 2004.
Lennar(LEN:NYSE) said last night that its 2nd quarter new home orders rose 17%.
Sempra Energy(SRE:NYSE) raised its guidance for 2004.
Sears(S:NYSE) May same store sales came in below expectations.
Best Buy(BBY:NYSE) reported 1st quarter revenues above consensus.
FuelCell Energy(FCEL:NASD) missed by $0.05.
Around the world in 80 ticks:
AP news reports that North Korea has officially banned mobile phones in the isolated country just 18 months after they first allowed them in the country. In addition, the North Korean government has begun building a fence which would separate them from China to prevent any phone smuggling into the country.
CNN reported that the two missing propane trucks were found after an extensive search by FBI and police authorities which had some fearing the worst if the fuel fell into terrorist hands.
The Associated Press reported that a privately developed manned rocket will attempt to reach space this month marking the first non-governmental flight to leave Earth's atmosphere. "SpaceShipOne", created by aviation designer Burt Rutan and funded by billionaire Paul Allen, will attempt a suborbital flight over the Mojave Desert on June 21 in a competition for $10 million dollars against other non-governmental designers that must carry at least 3 passengers into a weightless orbit of 3 minutes before returning safely to earth.
AP news reports that 9 million children have participated in their local spelling bees which have led up to today's national finals. Yesterday narrowed the field of spellers, who ranged in age from nine to 15 year olds and hailed from Europe, Guam, American Samoa, as well as the U.S. With 46 children left today from the crop of 265 Wednesday morning, those remaining children will compete for the $17,000 in cash, prizes and a lifetime of bragging. With the overpowering and current title holder Pratyush Buddiga out of the way, this year's spelling bee crown is expected to be a wide open field according to some psychotic parents. ESPN is expected to have exclusive coverage of the Scripps National Spelling Bee which begins at 10amEDT with a brief break for snacks and concludes at 4pmEDT.
Have a great day.
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