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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
European markets were edging slightly higher this morning as the German DAX added 0.80% half way through its session. The CAC40 and London FTSE traded around unchanged. The Asian markets were mixed today. The Nikkei gained slightly to finish above the 11,000 mark while the Hang Seng closed down 0.64%. US markets had rebounded following somewhat positive employment data which showed jobless claims that fell below 400,000.

At 10amEDT the Leading Indicators will be released followed by the Phila Fed at 12pmEDT. Expectations are for 17.0 in September. The minutes from the FOMC meeting get released at 2pmEDT. This afternoon brings earnings reports from 3Com(COMS:NASD), Jabil Circuit(JBL:NYSE), Nike(NKE:NYSE) and Palm (PALM:NASD). Heads-up for tomorrow for the "quadruple witch".

Brokerage Chatter:
Morgan Stanley downgrades the EU banking sector but upgraded HSBC Holdings(HBC:NYSE). Goldman Sachs made some negative chatter on the semis this morning following what the investment bank referred to as a disappointment. Goldman also expects a 10-15% pullback in the near time citing the current expectations for fundamental improvement have "outpaced reality". Merrill Lynch raised its target for Monsanto (MON:NYSE) to $30 from $27. UBS reiterates their Buy rating on Comcast Corp (CMCA:NASD) and $40 price target. Prudential raised Rockwell (ROK:NYSE) full year 2004 EPS estimates above consensus.

Morgan Stanley cut its 2004 estimate below consensus for EDS(EDS:NYSE). Wachovia upgraded Burlington Res(BR:NYSE) to outperform from market perform. Merrill Lynch reinstated its coverage of Citigroup(C:NYSE) with a buy rating and $54 target and also added the bank to its focus one list. Sprint PCS(PCS:NYSE) upped to Sector Outperform at CIBC. UBS downgraded Lucent (LU:NYSE) to reduce from neutral. Solomon Brothers upgraded JC Penney (JCP:NYSE) to buy from hold and raised its price target to $26 from $24.

Piper Jaffray upgraded Motorola(MOT:NYSE) to outperform from market perform and raises their target to $14 from $10. Wachovia upgraded Providian(PVN:NYSE) to outperform from market perform and raised its 2004 estimate to $1.25 from $1.00, above consensus estimate of $0.91. KLA-Tencor (KLAC:NASD) added to JP Morgan's focus list and placed a $77 price target for the company. CSFB raised price target for EMC(EMC:NYSE) to $15 from $11.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
The NY Times reports that Dick Grasso resigned yesterday as chairman and chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange following three weeks of controversy over his pay package.

Reuters reports that the IMF has warned as a result of the waning growth within the Euro zone from weakness in Germany and common currency strength, the European Central Bank may need to cut rates again. The IMF cut its forecast for 2003 euro zone growth to 0.5 percent from 1.1 percent and also slashed its 2004 forecast to 1.9 percent from 2.3 percent.

The North American semiconductor equipment book-to-bill ratio for August came in at 0.91; this is below market expectations of 1.0. The July number was revised down to 0.90 from 0.97.

The Nikkei Financial Daily reports that the SARS virus could threaten to have a lingering impact on Japanese corporate earnings, hamper those industries from airlines to restaurants.

Bloomberg newswires reports Axa(AXA:NYSE) announced it will buy The Mony Group(MNY:NYSE) for $1.5 billion.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Merrill Lynch (MER:NYSE) has formally acknowledged some responsibility in the Enron scandal and agreed to company-wide changes in exchange for not being prosecuted by the Justice Dept. This follows three of its former investment bankers indicted yesterday for their involvement.

Bear Stearns (BSC:NYSE) beat by $0.65.
A.G. Edwards (AGE:NYSE)beat the street by $0.12.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
The AP reports Arafat and leaders of his Fatah movement met today to choose new ministers for the Palestinian government. In the Gaza Strip, Israel staged its first major strike in several months, and killed another Hamas leader.

The Dow Jones newswire citing The Guardian news, has reported that Saudi Arabia has begun a strategic review of its defenses and is allegedly considering the acquisition of nuclear weapons.

According to ABC news. the former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, also known as "Comical Ali", has taken a few chop shots at his former boss Saddam Hussein by claiming he made tactical mistakes in fighting a war against the US-led coalition and should have considered stepping down to avoid the war.

ABC news reports that the outer rings of Hurricane Isabel have officially hit the eastern coast this morning. Meteorologists describe the storm as a weakened yet potent Hurricane. The Category 2 storm was expected to hit the Outer Banks by midday today with winds topping 100 mph creating waves up to 40 feet high and could be magnified by the early afternoon. Flooding remains their primary concern as the storm begins moving up the eastern coast of the U.S.

Have a profitable day.


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