The Fokker Chronicles
Europe has rebounded somewhat from its lows as the major European markets had been following the US weakness from yesterday. The German DAX was the clear strength in Europe while the rest of the major indices traded to the lighter side. Asian markets were weaker as the Japanese Nikkei closed down 1.83% and the Hang Seng finished its session in negative territory. Mixed economic data created a fuzzy picture for US equities, but futures have trended higher as the open drew near.
There'll be more economic data to chew on this morning when new and existing housing numbers get released at 10amEDT. The Help-Wanted index is also due out at 10amEDT. Natural Gas Inventory figures come out at 10:30amEDT. Solectron(SLR:NYSE) will post its earnings results during the day today and Research In Motion(RIMM:NASD) is expected to report after the closing bell. Nothing major on the earnings front for Friday however, economically speaking, look out for the Michigan Sentiment numbers and the Chain Deflator in the morning.
Credit Suisse First Boston upgraded Europe's telecom equipment sector, Ericsson(ERICY:NASD), Alcatel(ALA:NYSE), and Nokia(NOK:NYSE). Accenture(ACN:NYSE) was upped to hold at Deutsche Bank. Bank of America downgraded Lockheed Martin(LMT:NYSE), Northrop Grumman(NOC:NYSE) and L-3 Com (LLL:NYSE) to neutral from buy, and downgraded Ratheon(RTN:NYSE) to sell from buy. UBS upgraded Avaya(AV:NYSE) from neutral to buy and its price target to $15 from $11. Fox Entertainment (FOX:NYSE) estimates cut at CIBC.
Banc of America upgraded Viacom(VIA.B:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Merrill Lynch upgraded NCR Corp(NCR:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Red Hat(RHAT:NASD) was cut to hold at Deutsche Bank. Morgan Stanley downgraded Union Pacific(UNP:NYSE) to equal-weight from overweight. L-3 Com(LLL:NYSE) downgraded at Morgan Stanley
JP Morgan upgraded SonicWall(SNWL:NASD) to overweight from neutral and adds SonicWall along with Network Assoc(NET:NYSE) to its focus list.
Goldman Sachs upgraded Disney(DIS:NYSE) to outperform from in-line. New York Times(NYT:NYSE) was upped at JP Morgan from overweight from neutral. Pride Intl(PDE:NYSE) downgraded at Goldman Sachs to in-line from outperform.
Intel(INTC:NASD) announced they will invest $450 million in Micron Tech(MU:NYSE) representing approximately 5.3% of MU outstanding common stock.
Eastman Kodak(EK:NYSE) said they cut their annual dividend to $0.50 from $1.80 marking the first time in the company's history they have done so. Kodak also announced they will enter the printer business competing with Xerox(XRX:NYSE), Canon, Lexmark(LXK:NYSE) and Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE).
The Wall St Journal reported this morning that Amazon.com(AMZN:NASD) has been quietly creating its own Web-search technology that could rival Google, Yahoo!(YHOO:NYSE) and Overture(OVER:NASD).
Freddie Mac(FRE:NYSE) announced that it plans on releasing its results of a re-audit and restatement this November.
Micron Tech(MU:NYSE) reported 5 cents better EPS and their revenues came in better than street expectations as well.
Bed Bath & Beyond(BBBY:NASD) beat street expectations by a penny.
Rite Aid(RAD:NYSE) reported in line.
Murphy Oil(MUR:NYSE) issued an upside preannouncement and guided the street above consensus
Around the world in 80 ticks:
Reuters citing Israeli TV news report that twenty-seven Israeli pilots have sent a letter to the Israeli air force commander refusing to carry out attacks within the Gaza Strip. An Israeli air force officer said to Israeli TV, "we, veteran pilots and active pilots alike ... are opposed to carrying out illegal and immoral attacks of the type carried out by Israel in the territories." And further went on to say that although they love the state of Israel, they refuse to take part in actions that could harm innocent civilians.
According to the Washington Post, Kofi Annan said that the UN may consider withdrawing UN personnel from Iraq.
In the Wall Street Journal, Bush's approval rating was reported to be at the lowest point of his presidency and his approval rating on his handling of the economy has dropped to 43%
The New York Times reports that an analysis of government data shows the gap between rich and poor in the U.S. has more than doubled from 1979 to 2000.
AP newswire reports that President Hugo Chavez demanded that the US crack down on Cuban and Venezuelan terrorists who he claimed to be training in Florida to assassinate him.
The California election has begun to heat up according to the Washington Post. Candidates Arianna Huffington and Ah-nold took pot shots at one another during a political forum last night. At one point in the debate, Schwarzenegger said Huffington had exploited personal income tax loopholes so big that he could drive his Hummer through them. Huffington had been attacking Arnold throughout the evening and called him a "political hypocrite" claiming he had broken promises already and even suggested he treated women badly. In his apparent reference to a scene from T-3 when his character shoved the female terminator's head into the toilet, Arnold told Huffington that he has a perfect part for her in his next Terminator movie.
Reuters is reporting that China has banned commercials during the dinner time hours that advertise for feminine hygiene products and hemorrhoid ointments as well as other items deemed to be unappetizing by the government.
Have a profitable day.
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