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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:

European markets were trading to the weaker side, however near their highs of the session following a lower PPI report in the States this morning. Most of the major indicies remained in negative territory ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street. In Asia, stocks slid as the Nikkei dropped 2.46% and the Hang Seng lost nearly a half a percent on its session.

Heads up:

One last economic data point to end the week as the U. of Michigan confidence number is set to come out at 9:50amEDT.

Looking ahead to Monday, earnings from Lowe's(LOW:NYSE) and Kmart(KMRT:NASD) will be released.

Brokerage Chatter:
JP Morgan upgraded Rohm and Haas(ROH:NYSE) to overweight from neutral. Morgan Stanley upgraded Cisco(CSCO:NASD) and Lexmark(LXK:NYSE) to overweight from equal-weight. Meanwhile, Morgan cut 3Com(COMS:NASD) to equal eight from overweight. BEA Systems(BEAS:NASD) got the whipsaw this morning as Merrill upped them to a buy from neutral while Wachovia cut BEAS to market perform from outperform.

Banc of America downgraded Corning(GLW:NYSE) to neutral from buy and cut its price target to $12 from $18. Deutsche Bank downgraded Conseco(CNO:NYSE) to hold from buy and cut its price target to $18 from $21. Dow Jones(DJ:NYSE) got cut to hold from buy at Deutsche Bank and had its target lowered to $40 from $45.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :

Google(GOOG:NASD) revealed in an S.E.C. filing today that an interview given by its founder in the latest Playboy issue may have broken some U.S. securities laws dictating disclosure ahead of its planned IPO.

eBay(EBAY:NASD) reported that it has acquired a 25% stake in the online community Craigslist. Although they have not disclosed the terms of the transaction, EBAY said it doesn't foresee the deal affecting its 3rd quarter or 2004 guidance.

Merck(MRK:NYSE) said this morning, according to Bloomberg news, that it has filed for a $3.0 billion debt shelf registration.

Dell Computer(DELL:NAD) reported in line for its EPS and revenues and guided its 3rd quarter in line as well.
Kohl's(KSS:NYSE) beat by $0.01.
Brocade(BRCD:NASD) guided its 3rd quarter above consensus.
BEA Systems(BEAS:NASD) topped its 2nd quarter EPS by a penny, however its license revenues were down 8.7%.
Weight Watchers(WTW:NYSE) reported inline.
Analog Devices(ADI:NYSE) missed by $0.02 on lighter than expected revenues and guided its 4th quarter consensus estimate down as well.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

The BBC reports that the opening ceremonies are set to begin tonight as the Olympic torch returned home to Athens today after years of planning, construction delays and security build ups. While some report the U.S. is sending more military personnel than actual athletes, the world is set to hopefully watch a peaceful Olympics, the first summer games since the 9/11 attacks.

The New York Post reported that Governor McGreevy's real reason for stepping down might not have been simply because of an extramarital affair with another man, but the potential for a sexual harassment blackmail charge from his gay lover, who also happened to be on the public payroll.

Local Fox news affiliates in Tampa, Florida are reporting that Hurricane Charley has gathered in strength and is now considered a Category 3 hurricane, packing winds over 120 mph. Florida Governor Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency across the state on Wednesday, while experts are paying close attention to the hurricanes' path as well as potential scenarios of the hurricane breaking off into smaller tornadoes with potentially more devastating effects.

Have a great weekend.


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