The Fokker Chronicles
Europe stronger across the board today with the CAC40 outpacing its counterparts as it gained 0.85%. Japan closed for holiday however the Hang Seng was open for trading and gained 1%. US equity futures were slightly higher heading into Monday's trading. The bevy of economic numbers that hit the tape had little impact on equities, however bonds trickled lower.
The Economic reports showed nothing decisive either way. The Current Account Balance, Business Inventories, and Capacity Utilization data were in line with Bloomberg surveys. The Empire Manufacturing number for September showed a slight pickup while Industrial Production which came out +0.1% was on the light side of expectations at +0.3% although up from the prior numbers that were revised to 0.7%.
No major earnings announcements for today. However, tomorrow deliver a couple of home builders, Lennar(LEN:NYSE) and KB Home(KBH:NYSE).
Goldman Sachs put out some cautious commentary on the semiconductor equipment stocks citing unrealistic expectations on the Street as we head into earnings. On the flip side, Merrill Lynch has a positive call out and raised SEMI's 2003 and 2004 growth numbers ahead of the Book-to-Bill report on Wednesday. Individually, Merrill upped Kulicke & Soffa (KLIC:NASD) and Applied Materials (AMAT:NASD) to buy from neutral. Taiwan Semi(TSM:NYSE) had its numbers raised over at Merrill as well.
Intl Bus. Machine (IBM:NYSE)upped at UBS to buy from neutral. J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley both raised their 2003 estimates for EPS for Philips Electronics (PHG:NYSE) citing a higher company forecast for sales at the co's semiconductor unit. Barron's article over the weekend commenting on Treasury Secretary Snow's testimony made last week saying the current treasury plan could be a drag on Freddie Mac(FRE:NYSE) and Fannie Mae(FNM:NYSE). The Goldman Sachs survey on IT spending indicated conditions are still weak. AG Edwards upgraded Wendy's(WEN:NYSE) to buy from hold.
Lehman Brothers downgraded Manpower (MAN:NYSE) to equal-weight from overweight and cut its 2003-04 estimates. JP Morgan upgrading Toll Brothers (TOL:NYSE) to overweight from neutral. Deutsche upgraded WebMD (HLTH:NASD)to buy from hold. Cisco Systems(CSCO:NASD) was reiterated with a strong buy rating at Cowen. Motorola(MOT:NYSE) was downgraded by Soundview to neutral from outperform. SAP AG (SAP:NYSE) was downgraded at Prudential to neutral from overweight. Amazon (AMZN:NASD) and Earthlink(ELNK:NASD) were downgraded at Solomon Brothers. RBC Capital upgraded InterMune (ITMN:NASD) to outperform from sector perform and raised its target to $27 from $23.
Solomon Brothers downgraded Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE) and Seagate Tech(STX:NYSE) to hold from their former rating of outperform, and downgraded Apple Computer(AAPL:NASD) to sell from their former rating of in-line.
Sweden rejected its chance to turn in its Krona and accept the euro as its form of currency.
Wall Street Journal reports that Boeing(BA:NYSE) could be hit with $1 billion in liability claims.
In a statement from Standard & Poor's, the rating agency claimed that the free float of China's currency would be "dangerous" and could threaten the country's debt rating.
Boston Scientific (BSX:NYSE) upped its guidance
SanDisk (SNDK:NASD) guided full year 2003 revenues above consensus estimates. Also announced a 7.8 million share public offering
Around the world in 80 ticks:
Reuters reported yesterday that Secretary of State Colin Powell rejected the suggestion that Israel might kill Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and said it would only add rage to an already volatile Middle East. MSNBC reports that Palestinians are asking the U.N. to ensure Arafat's safety. In light of these comments, Israel's government released a statement today saying, "It (killing Arafat) is not the official policy of the Israeli government. It was never before, and we don't speak about any killing, we didn't speak about it before, and we don't speak about it today,"
According to MSNBC this morning, Hurricane Isabel had weakened slightly but still remained a Category 4 type storm indicating very strong winds as it closed its distance to the east coast. Meteorologists are guestimating the storm to touch down on the North East later this week.
Have a profitable day.
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