The Fokker Chronicles
World markets are weaker this morning as the German Dax lead the region lower dropping 1.20% at its midpoint of the day. The Asian markets closed slightly mixed as the Japanese Nikkei lost a little ground while the Hang Seng gained 0.80%. US treasuries futures were trading near their highs of the day as the US equity futures traded lower and the dollar yen traded to nearly 3 year lows.
Lookout for the Consumer Confidence and Chicago Purchasing Manager figures at 10amEDT. Earnings front remains light for the rest of the week. At 1pmEDT Mike Mussina takes the mound for the Yanks as the Major League Baseball playoffs get started at Yankee Stadium.
AnnTaylor(ANN:NYSE) upgraded at SG Cowen to outperform from market perform. AFLAC(ALF:NYSE) was upgraded to neutral at Merrill Lynch. SG Cowen upgraded Talbots(TLB:NYSE) to outperform from market perform. Morgan Stanley upgraded H & R Block(HRB:NYSE) to overweight from equal-weight. Prudential downgrades Newmont Mining (NEM:NYSE) to underweight from neutral weight.
Sun Microsystems(SUNW:NASD) was cut to underperform at Bear Stearns and other brokers followed suit following last night's preannouncement. JP Morgan initiated coverage of Qualcomm (QCOM:NASD) with an underweight rating. Banc of America Sec reduced its 4th quarter estimates for LSI Logic (LSI:NYSE) to $0.03 from $0.04. SAP AG (SAP:NYSE) was upgraded at Wachovia to outperform from market perform. Merrill Lynch reinstated its coverage on RF Micro Devices(RFMD:NASD) with a buy rating and a price target of $12.
Bank of America raised its price target on Sanmina(SANM:NASD) to $10 from $7.50. Credit Suisse First Boston initiated the semi equipment sector with a neutral rating and placed a sell rating on Altera(ALTR:NASD). Soundview raised its numbers on Yahoo!(YHOO:NASD). Prudential made some positive chatter on Hewlett Packard(HPQ:NYSE) and Deutsche was upbeat on Nokia(NOK:NYSE). Bank of America took numbers up on Electronic Arts(ERTS:NASD). Thomas Weisel upgraded PeopleSoft(PSFT:NASD) to outperform from peer perform.
Teva Pharm(TEVA:NASD) generic drug was granted tentative FDA approval of Oxycodone Hydrochloride ER for management of moderate to severe pain.
Alliance Capital (AC:NYSE) said it suspended two of its workers involved in market timing deals according to Bloomberg newswires. The company said they were contacted by regulators from the New York Attorney General's office.
CBS Marketwatch reported that Air France will acquire KLM Royal Dutch Airlines(KLM:NYSE) in a deal valued at approximately $900 million creating Europe's largest airline. Shares of KLM took off by 21 percent.
Sun Micro(SUNW:NASD) warned last night of a bigger than expected 1st quarter loss (approximately 5 cents worse than First Call)as a result of a $1 billion charge in its 4th quarter and will revise its 4th quarter results to show a loss.
Roadway(ROAD:NASD) beat by $0.02.
Pepsi Bottling(PBG:NYSE) beat by a penny.
Around the world in 80 ticks:
Reuters reports an opinion poll showed today that nearly 60% of British citizens feel Prime Minister Tony Blair lied to them about the Iraqi threat during the days leading up to the Iraqi invasion.
A Belgian court sentenced a former professional soccer player for 10 years for plotting to attack a NATO base on behalf of Al Qaeda according to Reuters.
BBC news reports that an Israeli court has sentenced three men to 12-15 years in prison for attempting to blow up an Arab girls school in East Jerusalem.
According to the Washington Post, the Census Bureau reported the largest percentage increase in Americans who lacked health insurance in a decade. According to figures from 2002, the number of those in America that lacked health insurance rose by 5.7% to 43.6 million.
ABC news reports that a 6 foot tall, 150 pound statue of Mr. Potato Head which had been stolen on Friday from the driveway of James Leach in Rhode Island, was finally returned after someone found the potato in a field. Police said the statue appeared a little mashed and chipped but that was nothing compared to how fried up Mr. Leach was over the matter.
Twins come into the Bronx today to kick off the American Division Series at Yankee Stadium. Mike Mussina will face Johan Santana in the first of a best of five game series. Game time at 1:00pmEDT on ESPN.
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