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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
The US dollar has been getting hit against the major currencies this morning, this after the G7 nations over the weekend announced they were in favor of more flexible currencies. Spot Dollar Index (which is the average exchange rate between the US$ and 6 major world currencies) was down 0.80%. According to Bloomberg newswires, the yen rose to its highest levels in nearly 3 years. World markets across the board are consequently taking it on the chin today. The German DAX had lost 2.70% and the CAC40 was down 2.50% midway through Europe's trading session. The Japanese Nikkei lost 4.24% today, taking its worst 1 day loss in nearly 2 years on the fears a stronger yen will hurt exports. US Bonds had regained some of its earlier losses but remained weak heading into the US equity opening.

No economic data expected today. Bush will address the U.N. General Assembly tomorrow. Autozone(AZO:NYSE) will report its earnings after the close today. Lowes(LOW:NYSE) has its analyst day today. Tomorrow will provide more broker earnings when Goldman Sachs(GS:NYSE), Lehman Brothers(LEH:NYSE), and Morgan Stanley(MWD:NYSE) all report.

Brokerage Chatter:
Several firms upgraded Motorola(MOT:NYSE) following the departure of CEO Christopher Galvin on Friday. Merrill Lynch upgraded MOT to buy from neutral; Soundview and Deutsche Bank upgraded the company as well.

Solomon Brothers made some positive chatter on General Electric(GE:NYSE) and its 4th quarter performance. Kohls(KSS:NYSE) received negative chatter from Deutsche Bank and the firm said it expected lower guidance. Lehman upped its outlook for mobile phones and systems to positive from neutral individually naming AT&T Wireless(AWE:NYSE), Nextel (NXTL:NASD) and Sprint PCS(PCS:NYSE), Qualcomm(QCOM:NASD), Motorola(MOT:NYSE) and Research In Motion(RIMM:NASD).

Bear Stearns raised its 2003 average price for Gold from $345 to $355 and its 2004 average price from $350 to $380 as a result of macro and micro catalysts gaining momentum. Morgan Stanley upgraded Patterson (PTEN:NASD), BJ Services(BJS:NYSE), and Weatherford Intl(WFT:NYSE) to overweight from equal-weight. RBC Capital upgraded Intuit(INTU:NASD) to outperform from sector perform. RBC Capital upgraded McDATA(MCDTA:NASD) to outperform from sector perform.

Piper Jaffray reiterated their outperform rating on Yahoo!(YHOO:NASD) and raised its target to $42 from $36. Wedbush downgraded Broadcom(BRCM:NASD) to hold from buy.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
The NYSE has named former Citigroup(C:NYSE) chief John Reed interim CEO and chairman.

Over the weekend, Reuters reported that Treasury Secretary Snow claimed that the G7 finance ministers have backed his forex view that currency rates should be set by the markets and not by governments.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the SEC will intensify its investigation of trading practices on the floor of the NYSE, and that included closer scrutiny of the specialist firms Labranche & Co.(LAB:NYSE), Van Der Moolen Holding (VDM:NYSE) and others.

The Financial Times reports that Motorola(MOT:NYSE) CEO Christopher Galvin announced Friday that he was leaving the firm and cited strategic differences with the company's board. Galvin will remain at his post until a successor has been found.

An article in the NY Times had made some negative chatter on the U.S. banking sector citing a rise in interest rates might be imminent and will consequently add a negative catalyst.

Reuters has reported that Taiwan Semi(TSM:NYSE) has planned on doubling its capacity in China.

Baker Hughes(BHI:NYSE) revised its 3rd quarter below consensus estimate and now sees a loss of $0.06-0.08 versus Reuters Research consensus of $0.28.
Wal-Mart(WMT:NYSE) said its same-store sales were near the high end of forecasts.

Around the world in 80 ticks:
An article in the Sunday Telegraph cites an Iranian cleric that has urged Teheran to defy the West's nuclear requests. This call by this leading Iranian cleric for his country to consider withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty with the West has raised fresh fears that Iran will ignore an international deadline to curb its nuclear aspirations.

The Washington Post citing reports reviewed by the Associated Press, said that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, told U.S. interrogators that the plot was first discussed with Bin Laden back in 1996. Furthermore the plan originally included hijacking five commercial jets on each U.S. coast before it was modified several times. It was also revealed in the reports that nearly 22 terrorists were originally planned to be involved including help from terrorists from Southeast Asia.

Reuters reported Hurricane Isabel had left more than 6 million customers from the Carolinas to Canada with no power. As of this morning, utility companies were quoted as saying that nearly 1.2 million homes and businesses in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia still had no power.

Have a profitable day.


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