The Fokker Chronicles
European markets were modestly higher ahead of the US opening today. The German DAX led the way in Europe posting a 0.75% gain midway through the German trading session. The Japanese Nikkei back from holiday posted a 1.63% gain and the Hang Seng followed right behind finishing up 0.72% today. The 10yr has picked up much of its losses early on this morning following benign inflation data on the CPI. US equity futures were leaning higher in early trading.
At 1pmEDT, the NAHB Housing Market Index number will be released. FOMC rate decision expected at 2:15pmEDT today. The consensus is for no change. Earnings after the bell include KB Home(KBH:NYSE) and Lennar(LEN:NYSE).
Bear Stearns has raised its 2003 semi revenue forecast today from up 8.7% to 9.8% year over year. Portal Software(PRSF:NASD) was upped to strong buy at Raymond James. JP Morgan upgraded Noble Energy(NE:NYSE) to neutral from underweight. Coca-Cola(KO:NYSE) was cut to peer perform from outperform at Thomas Weisel. Merrill Lynch upgraded UPS(UPS:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Intl Paper(IP:NYSE) was added to Merrill Lynch's Focus 1 list.
Lehman upgraded Ingram Micro (IM:NYSE) to overweight from equal-weight. JP Morgan downgraded Gilead Sciences (GILD:NASD) to neutral from overweight. Philips Electronics (PHG:NYSE) received some negative chatter out of Bear Stearns citing the stock has become ahead of itself. Merrill Lynch reinstated its coverage of Computer Assoc (CA :NYSE) with a buy rating and $33 target. Raymond James upgraded Qwest (Q:NYSE) to market perform from underperform.
The Wall Street Journal reported that AOL Time Warner(AOL:NYSE) has finalized a deal to sell its Atlanta Hawks basketball team and Atlanta Thrashers hockey team to an investment group.
CBS Marketwatch reported that Hurricane Isabel would likely pressure shares of insurance companies who could face billions in storm-related damage claims hampering short term earnings. However it should be noted that over the long term, rising premiums have offset most losses. According to Goldman Sachs, five days before Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992, nonlife insurer shares fell by 2.2 percent and following the storm, stocks gained 23% on average spanning four months following Andrew. According to Lehman Brothers, Allstate (ALL:NYSE) has the greatest exposure. A catastrophic loss of $1 billion could take the company for 11 cents per share on its 2003 earnings or 13%.
Mylan Labs (MYL:NYSE) declared a 3-for-2 stock split.
Lockheed Martin (LMT:NYSE) has agreed to buy Titan(TTN:NYSE) for $1.8 billion; or about $22 per share, 30% more than Titan's closing price of $16.96
Qualcomm (QCOM:NASD) said it expects fiscal fourth quarter and full fiscal year results to be at the high end of expectations set in July however the company added, that its CDMA product results are indicating only 23 million new subscriber units which is below its estimate of 25 million units.
General Mills(GIS:NYSE) reported its numbers in line with consensus and guided analysts in line for next year.
Around the world in 80 ticks:
MSNBC reports the Security Council was leaning towards voting on a resolution put forth from the Arab nations demanding Israel not to harm or exile Yasser Arafat. In related news, Arafat's national security adviser said today that they would like to reach a truce with Israel; Israeli officials disregarded this statement and called on the PLO to crackdown on its militant groups.
According to Reuters newswires, the U.S. army said today that it had deployed an anti-missile system in South Korea that can take out incoming ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft from the North. Nearly $11 billion will be spent to enhance U.S. defenses in South Korea and this Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system has become a big part of that where 37,000 U.S. troops are currently stationed.
Reuters reported that the National Hurricane Center has currently tracked Hurricane Isabel's maximum winds to be reaching winds of 115 mph and that its current path would bring it ashore by Thursday along the coast of North Carolina. Storm trackers say the present course will then take it north along the Chesapeake Bay near Washington D.C., through Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
BBC news reports that three people have died and more than 20 were injured in a Japan office building siege of a disgruntled office worker that culminated in an explosion. The 52-year-old man, who was said to be a disgruntled office worker, was allegedly armed with a knife and a bow and arrow. Witnesses said he was demanding three months' back pay and then doused the area with kerosene.
Nearly 79,000 people in attendance last night at Giants Stadium to watch Big D beat the NY Giants in a wild one that ended 35-32.
Have a profitable day.
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