Thursday, June 17, 2004

Thursday Watch

Earnings of Note

None of note.

Economic Data
Producer Price Index for May estimated +.6% versus +.7% in April.
PPI Ex Food & Energy for May estimated +.2% versus +.2% in April.
Initial Jobless Claims for last week estimated at 340K versus 352K prior week.
Leading Indicators for May estimated +.4% versus +.1% in April.
Philly Fed. for June estimated at 25.5 versus 23.8 in May.

Goldman Sachs says the stars are aligning for the lodging companies as all signs are pointing in the same positive direction. Goldman reiterated Outperform on SYMC.

Late-Night News
Asian indices are mixed as strength in Taiwan is being offset by weakness in China. Lazard LLC, the world's largest closely held investment bank, has been approached by other banks proposing an IPO that could value Lazard at more than $3 billion, the Financial Times reported. The U.S. government may propose tariffs tomorrow on certain bedroom furniture imported from China after a group of U.S. makers said factories in China have sold goods at below-market prices, the Asian Wall Street Journal said. Inflation remains "under good control" and central bankers are not too late in starting to raise interest rates to head off price increases, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Broaddus said. Senator Kerry will break from his campaign to meet in Washington with potential running mates today and tomorrow, Bloomberg reported. Bacardi Ltd., in a push to broaden its U.S. presence, is nearing an agreement to buy Sidney Frank Importing Co.'s Grey Goose vodka business for more than $2 billion, the Wall Street Journal said. Internet pharmacies outside the U.S. and Canada shipped fake versions of Pfizer's Viagra impotence drug, Roche Holding's Accutane acne treatment and Purdue Pharma's OxyContin painkiller to the U.S., Bloomberg reported.

Late-Night Trading
Asian Indices -1.0% to +1.0% on average.
S&P 500 indicated -.11%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated -.27%.

BOTTOM LINE: I expect U.S. stocks to open moderately weaker tomorrow as interest rates rise after the release of several key economic reports. The PPI, Initial Jobless Claims, Leading Indicators and Philly Fed. will likely all come in higher-than-expected. The rise in initial jobless claims I foresee is only temporary and will not offset evidence of economic strength elsewhere. Relatively low Put/Call, ARMS and VIX readings from today and weakness in my short-term trading indicators also leads me to expect a weaker morning for stocks. The Portfolio is 25% net long heading into tomorrow.

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