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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
Mixed bag again out of Europe as the German DAX is the standout underperformer posting a 1.10% drop thus far today. The London FTSE however remained in positive territory half way through its session as it gained 0.40%. Asian markets snapped back today including the Japanese Nikkei finished with a 1.58% gain. US markets were already poised for a weaker open following the disappointment with Oracle(ORCL:NASD) earnings when softer economic data exacerbated the loss in the equity futures. Check out Brian Reynolds for more data released.

Lookout for the University of Michigan Confidence number at 9:50amEDT. Expectations are for 90.2. Not much on tap for earnings on Monday; however, several economic reports will get released from the government. Data on the Empire Manufacturing, Business Inventories, Industrial Production, and Capacity Utilization will all be released on Monday morning.

Heads up for equity and bond future followers as the December contract becomes the front month contract today.

Brokerage Chatter:
Goldman Sachs upgraded U.S. Steel (X:NYSE) to outperform from underperform. Merrill Lynch upgraded Qualcomm(QCOM:NASD) to buy from neutral. Bank of America downgraded Actel(ACTL:NASD) to neutral from buy. Bank of America also initiated coverage on Pixar(PIXR:NASD) with a sell rating and $61 target.

Merrill Lynch downgraded Janus Capital (JNS:NYSE) to neutral from buy. Harley Davidson(HDI:NYSE) was downgraded at Bear Stearns to peer perform from outperform. Morgan Stanley cut its numbers on Coca Cola(KO:NYSE) for 2003 and 2004. Palm (PALM:NASD) was upped to peer perform at Bear Stearns.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
Bloomberg newswires reports this morning that Senator Corzine will introduce a new bill within the next few weeks that would place Fannie Mae (FNM:NYSE) and Freddie Mac (FRE:NYSE) under stiffer disclosure requirements as well as yearly audits.

According to the Wall Street Journal, New York Stock Exchange Floor traders have begun circulating a petition that would remove its current chairman Dick Grasso. Traders angered over Grasso's recently divulged pay package of $140 million have called for his removal.

Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) announced they will double their current dividend boosting it to 16 cents a share from 8 cents.

Oracle (ORCL:NASD) posted in line EPS of 8 cents a share, but its revenues were slightly below consensus: $2.07 billion versus the $2.14 billion consensus. CFO sees their 2nd quarter EPS between 10 and 11cents while the street estimates are at 11c.

GTECH(GTK:NYSE) beat by $0.06

Around the world in 80 ticks:

BBC News reports that the international community officially warned Israel against expelling Arafat, this follows Israel's vow to remove the Palestinian leader and known terrorist. The United States has said that removing Arafat would be "unhelpful". Russia concurred claiming such a move would be a "grave mistake".

This morning brought sad news from Hollywood and Nashville. Actor John Ritter, known for his role on Three's Company, was rushed to the hospital yesterday after he collapsed on the set of his current ABC show "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter". Reuters reports that a previously undetected arterial problem was the cause of death. Johnny Cash died late yesterday due to a respiratory failure from diabetes complications.

The Washington Post details a parliamentary report claiming Britain PM Tony Blair had been warned by his intelligence chiefs a month before the Iraqi invasion that the risk of terrorists obtaining weapons of mass destruction would be greatly increased. The Feb 10th report states that Saddam's collapse "would increase the risk of chemical and biological warfare technology or agents finding their way into the hands of terrorists."

As it's a Friday, a slow news day, and Toddo is dragging poor, and soon to be even poorer Fokker, away to sin city. Here's a few interesting facts that are guaranteed to provide gamblers with nothing useful:

• In Las Vegas, players lose an amazing 6 billion a year at casinos.
• All slot machines play music in the key of c. This is so when you are in a room full of slot machines the music does not clash.
• Often after a casino patron has a big win, a casino attendant will ask them to play once more on the winning machine. This is so that other gamblers don't shy away from the machine that has already paid out a big win.
• The casino with the most amount of slots machines in the US is not Las Vegas! It is Native American casino Foxwoods in Connecticut, which has a whopping 6000 slots.
• The game of bingo originated from the Italian lottery, which dates all the way back to 1530. In the early 20th century it was played at US country fairs and was known as "Beano!"
• There are more gambling systems made to beat the roulette wheel than any other game
• Gaming is the US's favorite pastime. That means that more people gamble then the combined total of those attending the movies, music events, sports, live entertainment and theme parks!
• Las Vegas has over 100,000 hotel rooms
• Female gamblers tend to chose blackjack over any other casino game

Thanks Toddo and Shrebby!!

Enjoy your weekend Minyans.


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