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The Fokker Chronicles



Heads up:

New Home Sales data is due out at 10amEDT. Following that data, lookout at 10:30amEDT for the API release of weekly inventory levels for gasoline, distillate and crude oil.

Brokerage Chatter:

Merrill downgraded GAP Inc (GPS:NYSE) from buy to neutral and takes FY'04 EPS from $1.32 to $1.29 and FY'05 from $1.62 to $1.60. Legg Mason upped Semtech Corp (SMTC:NASD) following Q2 results last night and improving trend of seasonal activity. Bear Stearns cut estimates on CSX Corp (CSX:NYSE) and Union Pacific (UNP:NYSE) on weak volumes and higher fuel costs. The firm is not changing numbers on Norfolk Southern Corp (NSC:NYSE) and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNI:NYSE) seeing Q3 upside as a function of being better hedged to fuel.

Goldman upgraded Steel Dynamics (STLD:NASD) from in line to outperform on valuation. The firm also lowered Nucor Corp (NUE:NYSE) from outperform to in line. Banc of America raised its 3G global handset forecast for '04 from 19M to 24M and for '05 from 41M to 50M noting potential upside for Qualcomm (QCOM:NASD). Prudential lowered its Q3 EPS estimate on Alcoa (AA:NYSE) from $0.46 to $0.38 based on recent labor issues.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :

The MBA Mortgage Applications for 8/20 came in -6.3% vs. 11.9% prior.

The weekly Investor's Intelligence(II) report showed a fall in bulls from 43.6% to 39.6% and a rise in bears from 28.7% to 30.2%.

The U.S. and a handful of other countries might be considering dipping into their Strategic Petroleum Reserves(SPR) to help curb the spike in oil prices. In an IEA meeting yesterday, the U.S. energy secretary said the prospects of this have become a much greater possibility than last year.

Bloomberg newswires reports that last night Greenspan commented in a written Senate Response to questions posed on July 20 hearing, that he sees a stronger global recovery and warned of sustained higher oil prices that could be damaging to some countries. Greenspan added that the Fed can't tell whether a housing bubble was forming, offering that it is inconclusive at the moment and it's hard for Fed to judge local housing prices. In the money management discussion, he added that the case has not been made to monitor hedge funds.


Consol Energy(CNX:NYSE) preannounced for its 3rd quarter. The company said it sees a loss of 30c-40c versus previous expectation of a gain of 5c-10c.
Williams Sonoma (WSM:NYSE) reported Q2 EPS of $0.23 vs. $0.19 cons on rev's of $689.62 mln vs. $679.5 mln cons.
Toll Brothers (TOL:NYSE) reported Q3 EPS of $1.31 vs $1.19 cons on rev's of $1.01 bln vs. $956.13 bln cons.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

The Washington Post reports that following a preliminary investigation over the two Russian passenger planes which crashed just outside Moscow last night and killed all 89 people aboard the planes, no evidence of terrorism was found. Initial reports suggested Chechen terrorism due to the fact elections in the war-torn province of Russia were soon to take place.

Reuters reports that South African police have arrested the son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher today over suspicion he was attempting to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea. Thatcher, also known as Sir Mark to the inner circle was allegedly the financier in the plot for mercenaries to overtake the oil-rich island. According to some sources, Sir Mark is also purportedly looking into a stake in Club Med resort Turks and Caicos and the turbulent island of Haiti for potential investments.

Have a great day.

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