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The Fokker Chronicles

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World Markets:
World markets were modestly higher halfway through their sessions. The Asian markets however closed weaker today. The Japanese Nikkei lose 0.86% while the Hang Seng gave back 1.32% on the day. US equity futures were trading near their highs of the early morning session following Personal Income and Spending figures. Check out Brian Reynolds notes for more.

Heads-up:
Lookout tomorrow for Consumer Confidence and the Chicago Purchasing Manager report get released. No earnings of note this afternoon. Tomrrow will bring Pepsi Bottling(PBG:NYSE) and Roadway(ROAD:NASD). 3M Co.(MMM:NYSE) will split 2 for 1 tomorrow.

Brokerage Chatter:
Plenty of chatter this morning in the semi sector. JP Morgan said it believes the semi equipment stocks are oversold. Bank of America's semi analyst is bearish on the group. Deutsche Bank downgraded Teradyne(TER:NYSE) and LTX Corp(LTXX:NASD)to hold from buy.

Northrop Grumman (NOC:NYSE) was added to JP Morgan's focus list. Merrill Lynch downgrades Nvidia(NVDA:NASD)to sell from neutral and significantly cut its 2004-2005 estimates below the street. Deutsche Bank upped Boeing(BA:NYSE). MedImmune(MEDI:NASD) was upped to buy from neutral at UBS. Lehman downgraded El Paso(EP:NYSE) to equal-weight from overweight and cut its target to $7 from $9. Goldman Sachs upgraded Pep Boys(PBY:NYSE) to outperform from in-line.

Nokia (NOK:NYSE) was the subject of a positive cover story over the weekend in Barron's that cited its shares could be worth twice as much. Lehman upgraded Apple(AAPL:NASD) to overweight from equal-weight and raised its target to $24 from $22. Thomas Weisel downgraded Affymetrix(AFFX:NASD) to underperform from peer perform and cut its 2003-05 estimates below consensus.Lehman downgraded Bank of America (BAC:NYSE) to equal-weight from overweight, trimmed their 2003-04 estimates, and cut its target to $80 from $90.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :
The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that Morgan Stanley(MWD:NYSE) fund trades are now the subject of a new SEC probe.

Chief executive Schrempp from DaimlerChrysler(DCX:NYSE) has announced his resignation from the board of the New York Stock Exchange.

According to CBS Marketwatch, Manulife Financial(MFC:NYSE) announced a $11 billion purchase of John Hancock(JHF:NYSE) shares in a stock for stock swap, a deal that would create one of the largest insurers in North America. The terms of the merger would create a $37.60 conversion price for John Hancock which represents a 18.5% premium from Friday's close.

Reebok(RBK:NYSE) appears close to signing a contract with Yao Ming whose contact with Nike(NKE:NYSE) had expired last year.


Earnings:
Walgreen(WAG:NYSE) beat expectations for its 4th quarter by 3 pennies.
Wal-Mart(WMT:NYSE) sales tracking near high end of forecast
Topps Company(TOPP:NASD) beat by a penny
The Semi Industry Association (SIA) released its August semi equipment data and reported a seasonally strong growth rate. SIA said global chip sales grew by 4%.


Around the world in 80 ticks:
The Wall Street Journal reported that a best selling book in Germany has been gaining acceptance throughout Europe and is adding more fuel for the 9/11 conspiracy theorists. The books suggests that the U.S. government staged the 9/11 attacks for justification in attacking Afghanistan and Iraq.

In more possible damaging news for the Bush administration, the Washington Post writes that President Bush's aides announced their cooperation with a Justice Department inquiry. The inquiry will attempt to discover how an administration leak to a Robert Novak article exposing the identity of a CIA operative took place. Democrats are calling for an independent probe into the illegal name identification of the undercover CIA operative.

Reuters reports that Italy suffered a nationwide blackout yesterday, leaving millions of people in darkness. Power had been restored today but in classic déjà vu, arguments, finger pointing and calls for economic and power generation reform have come to the forefront.

Another 15,000 US troops have been given orders to prepare for a trip to Iraq according to Reuters. The US on Friday activated 10,000 National Guard troops for service in Iraq and put another 5,000 on alert for likely call up.

The Associate Press reports that Palestinian leader Arafat has come down with the flu. Arafat, 74, has been reportedly ill for the past three days and has been unable to keep his food down.

Reuters reports that the world's oldest man, 114, died today at his home in Tokyo. Retired Japanese silkworm breeder Yukichi Chuganji, was born on March 23, 1889. Japan claims the title for the world's longest life expectancy; 78 years for men and 80 for women and houses the oldest living person in world, Kamato Hongo, a 116-year-old Japanese woman. Hey Toddo, sushi Monday?



Have a profitable day.

Fokker

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