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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:

World markets were mixed today ahead of the US Fed meeting. While the Japanese Nikkei closed unchanged the Hang Seng added 1.40% on its session. Spot gold attempted to rebound this morning as it added $3 ahead of the open to equity trading. The dollar index was slipping by 44 cents and treasuries were showing some modest strength early on.

Heads up:

In focus today will be the month-end and quarter-end action as well as Fed day. The FOMC will release its decision on the current environment and interest rate policy at 2:15pmEDT while most of the Street is expecting a 25 basis point hike.

Brokerage Chatter:

RBC Capital downgraded Commerce Banc(CBH:NYSE) to underperform from sector perform and cut its target to $50 from $58. Schwab Soundview downgraded Omnivision(OVTI:NASD) to neutral from outperform and cut its target to $19 from $31. CIBC upgraded Meridian Gold(MDG:NYSE) to sector perform from underperform and raised its target to $16 from $14.

Prudential upped Placer Dome(PDG:NYSE) to overweight from neutral and raised its target to $20 from $13. JP Morgan downgraded Royal Dutch(RD:NYSE) to underweight from neutral. UBS downgraded CSX Corp(CSX:NYSE) to neutral from buy. CSFB upgraded Weyerhaeuser(WY:NYSE) to neutral from underperform and raised its target to $62 from $56 and downgraded Bowater(BOW:NYSE) to neutral from outperform.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :

MBA statistics show that week over week, mortgage applications fell by 4.4%.

Sears, Roebuck(S:NYSE) announced it would either acquire ownership or leasehold interest in approximately 61 off-mall stores from Kmart(KMRT:NASD) and Wal-Mart(WMT:NYSE) for about $620 million. Separetly, KMRT will increase its share buyback up to $100 million.

Reuters is reporting that according to Smith Barney analyst Mark Kalinowski who conducts a poll on the casual dining chain business, results showed wait times for tables are up 4% from a year ago. The average wait time at 200 casual dining restaurants on the evening of June 25 rose slightly to 14.2 minutes from 13.6 minutes last year and indicates that some chains could post slightly better sales than expected.

Taser Intl
(TASR:NASD) announced its largest order in company history as it landed a $1.8 million military order.


General Mills(GIS:NYSE) beat by $0.02.
Research In Motion(RIMM:NASD) beat by $0.04 and guided above 2nd quarter and 3rd quarter consensus.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

On the terrorism watch, three men failed in their attempt to hijack a plane from Munich to Istanbul yesterday according to Reuters. The flight which was carrying 150 passengers was able to safely return to Munich airport where German Special Forces stormed the plane. In a more outrageous note, several U.S. lawmakers including Republican chairmen are inquiring into reasons for the Justice Department to have released a Syrian man being sought for criminal charges by the FBI. According to Senator Grassley from Iowa, a letter written to Attorney General Ashcroft said the circumstances surrounding the release are "of deep concern and appear to be a departure from an aggressive, proactive approach to the war on terrorism. Separately, the U.S. has reportedly expelled two Iranians serving as security guards to the UN after they were seen by local New York City officials snapping photos of bridges and popular landmarks. While it remains unclear if Iranians find power plants a typical tourist attraction, the Iranian government insisted the guards took pictures of nothing sensitive in nature.

The New York Times has reported that in a bizarre twist of fate, the U.S. marine that had been abducted and threatened with beheading may not be wanted back by U.S. forces. The military is apparently accusing the American marine that happens to be a Muslim, of being a deserter. Corporal Hassoun, who was allegedly "emotionally traumatized", had been assisted by fellow Muslim marines in sneaking off the base in an effort to flee to his native Lebanon. Those same Muslim marines then turned on him and turned him over to his Iraqi captors that are currently threatening to murder him. To the terrorist's ironic dismay, the U.S. forces may not want him back.

Have a great day.


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