The Fokker Chronicles
Europe is treading quietly higher this morning. The Asian markets finished with another positive session as the Japanese Nikkei gained 0.95% and the Hang Seng added 0.62%. US markets trended lower earlier this morning after word of another Saddam tape floating around encouraging unrest in Iraq. Equity futures remained on the weaker side following positive housing data from the government.
The API releases its monthly and weekly oil inventory data today at 10:00amEDT. The US monthly budget statement will be released at 2pmEDT. Nothing of note after the bell on the earnings front, however tomorrow lookout for reports from AG Edwards(AGE:NYSE), Bear Stearns(BSC:NYSE), 3 Com(COMS:NASD), Nike(NKE:NYSE), and Palm(PALM:NASD).
UBS raised its numbers and price target for Microsoft (MSFT: NASD) from $32 to $34. Morgan Stanley raised their 2004 estimate for Charles Schwab (SCH: NYSE) well above the consensus. Qualcomm (QCOM:NASD) had its estimates raised at CIBC, however kept its rating for the company at neutral.
Merrill Lynch upgraded Ann Taylor (ANN:NYSE) and Talbots(TLB:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Schlumberger (SLB:NYSE) had its target raised to $63 from $55 at UBS. Solomon Brothers raised its price target for Altria (MO:NYSE) to $56 from $50 following the Illinois Supreme Court reinstatement of the reduced bond amount. UBS has initiated coverage of Wal-Mart(WMT:NYSE) with a buy rating.
Bloomberg newswires reported that Dell Computer (DELL:NASD) said it will not buy any new Advanced Micro Devices(AMD:NYSE) chips.
The Washington Post has reported that America On-line(AOL:NYSE) has planned to drop "AOL" from its corporate name. The report said the board of directors was scheduled to approve the name change at a meeting in New York tomorrow. Its logo and stock-ticker symbol will also change as it will trade under the symbol "TWX", the symbol Time Warner used before its merger with AOL.
Citigroup(C:NYSE) announced yesterday that Sandy Weill will be stepping down early and replaced on October 1st by Charles Prince.
According to the Economic Daily News quoting the chairman at Taiwan Semi (TSM:NYSE) the Semi industry maybe in for a mild recession in 2005, in part due to the industry's expansion in China.
As the pressure mounts for the removal of NYSE Chairman Dick Grasso, the New York Post reports that some of the names being considered to replace him include former NY Fed Governor and current chairman of Public Company Accounting Oversight Board William McDonough; Don Marron, former head of Pain Webber; Paul Volcker, former Fed Chairman; Robert Rubin, former TSY Sec and current vice chair at Citigroup; Daniel Tully, former head of Merrill Lynch.
The Boston Globe has learned that the mutual fund probe has widened. The Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin has sent subpoenas to Putnam Investments as part of the widening probe into mutual fund market timing. In related news, NY Attorney General Spitzer said he has sent requests for information to 75% of the country's mutual funds.
Gillette (G:NYSE) announced it has authorized a share repurchase program for 50 million shares of Gillette common stock.
Altria (MO:NYSE) received a favorable ruling yesterday from the Illinois Supreme Court when their bond amount for appealing its class-action verdict was slashed.
According to Bloomberg, the number of jobless claims in the U.K. fell in August to its lowest level since 1975. Claims fell by 6,900 and their unemployment rate held at 3.1%, also the lowest in nearly 28 years.
KB Home (KBH:NYSE) beat 3rd quarter estimates by $0.19.
Lennar (LEN:NYSE) beat by $0.20, and guided their 2003 and 2004 forecasts above consensus
FedEx (FDX:NYSE) beat by $0.04
New York Times (NYT:NYSE) guided its 3rd quarter and full year 2003 below consensus estimates.
DuPont (DD:NYSE) said its sees its 2003 earnings at low end of the range.
R.J. Reynolds (RJR:NYSE) has revised its forecast and guided full year 2003 below consensus. Bloomberg reports the company will slash 40% of its workforce.
Best Buy (BBY:NYSE) reported in line.
Circuit City(CC:NYSE) reported 2 pennies light of consensus estimates.
Around the world in 80 ticks:
The AP reports this morning that an Arab satellite station has broadcast an alleged new Saddam tape. On the tape, Saddam called out to his former plebs "Oh Iraqi people, I am telling you the good news," said the voice on the tape broadcast by al-Arabiya television. "The fatigue is eating into the enemy's ranks."
NBC news learned last night that a terrorist group known as Ansar-al-Islam, originally thought to only exist in Iraq might have sleepers spread out across several cities within the U.S. Military experts said this group had its base in northern Iraq bombed by the U.S. during the spring. "We do have an Ansar-al-Islam presence here in the United States," said Pat D'Amuro, FBI assistant director and a top counterterrorism official. "There's enough intelligence information that we know that gives us great concern."
BBC reports that the U.S. yesterday vetoed the U.N. resolution that would demand Israel not harm or deport Yasser Arafat. The US was the only one of the 15 countries on the Security Council to oppose the resolution, while Britain, Germany and Bulgaria abstained. Needless to say, Palestinians and Arabs across the region are in a complete frenzy condemning the US vote. In typical terrorist fashion, the Palestinian UN representative Nasser al-Kidwa said that the veto would lead to "serious consequences" and that the US would be held responsible.
The New York Times reports that the US government is currently looking into the flow of money from the Saudis' to Hamas.
The AP reports that Hans Blix, former U.N. chief weapons inspector said he believes that Iraq had destroyed most of its weapons of mass destruction 10 years ago but had made it look like it had them to deter a military attack.
Have a profitable day.
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