Sunday, October 23, 2005

Monday Watch

Weekend Headlines
- Wal-Mart Stores said October sales are rising within its forecast range.
- President Bush said the US will boost efforts to catch and expel people entering the country illegally, and said he will work with Congress to create a program that gives immigrants legal access to jobs.
- Saudi Arabia is likely to generate $163 billion of oil revenue this year, the most in more than two decades, on higher oil prices and more crude exports, said Samba Financial Group.

- Ben Bernanke, President Bush’s chief economist, is the most likely successor to Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve, money managers said.
- Altria Group could announce early next year that it’s splitting into three companies, provided two pending legal decisions go its way.

NY Times:
- Three of the five groups bidding for Albertson’s are led by investment firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Yucaipa Companies.
- Risk and uncertainty in Iraq attract small engineering, drilling and contracting companies to the country.
- About 30,000 to 50,000 homes in New Orleans, more than one-fourth of the city’s residences, may be demolished because of damage from Hurricane Katrina.
- The number of New York City children in foster care has declined to about 18,000, about half what is was six years ago and at levels not seen since the mid-1980s.
- Iraqis probably approved the nation’s new constitution, citing official partial results from 13 of the country’s 18 provinces and likely results from two others in the Oct. 15 referendum.
- Asian technology stocks, the region’s worst performers this year, may recoup their losses as companies’ earnings reports signal that demand for products such as mobile phones and display screens is rising.
- The US gasoline pump price slid 25 cents in the past two weeks to an average $2.66 a gallon, Tilby Lundberg said, citing her survey of about 7,000 filling stations nationwide. Prices dropped because the refineries shut by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are recovering and demand is dropping, said Lundberg.
- Hurricane Wilma gained speed ahead of its forecasted arrival in South Florida tomorrow morning after battering Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula for three days with winds of 100 mils an hour.

Washington Times:
- The White House may have begun making contingency plans for the withdrawal of Harriet Miers’ nomination to the US Supreme Court.

Washington Post:
- US aid sent to earthquake-ravaged Pakistan is improving America’s image in the Muslim country.
- The US views a UN report linking top Syrian officials to the murder of Lebanon’s former prime minister as an opportunity to erode the power of President Bashar Assad and possibly foster democracy in the country.

EE Times:
- iSuppli Corp.’s teardown analysis of Apple Computer’s new video-capable iPod reveals an important new component supplier for the unit, Broadcom Corp.

Financial Times:
- About 55% of Japanese institutional investors put money into hedge funds at the end of last year, compared with 28% of US professional investors and 10% in the UK, citing Greenwich Associates.
- European Union member states are not increasing research and development spending by as much as the US and Asia, citing UK government research.
- General Motors Corp. may increase production of smaller vehicles as more US consumers buy fuel-efficient vehicles due to high energy prices, citing an interview with CEO Wagoner.
- Schering-Plough, maker of the Zetia Cholesterol drug, has “cash flexibility” to be able to plan for deals for new drugs or with other companies.

Sunday Telegraph:
- Ericsson AB and Alcatel SA are leading the race to acquire UK phone-equipment maker Marconi Corp.

Sunday Times:
- Cendant Corp. is considering plans to split itself into four businesses and may make announcement this week.

- Roche Holdings AG has been accused by Gilead Sciences of “serious failings” in the production of bird-flu medication Tamiflu.

Weekend Recommendations
- Had positive comments on BSX, CA and VZ.

Goldman Sachs:
- Reiterated Outperform on ECL, SLB and MUR.
- Reiterated Underperform on KEA and UIS.

Night Trading
Asian indices are -.50% to -.25% on average.
S&P 500 indicated +.03%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated unch.

Morning Preview
US AM Market Call
NASDAQ 100 Pre-Market Indicator/Heat Map
Pre-market Commentary
Before the Bell CNBC Video(bottom right)
Global Commentary
Asian Indices
European Indices
Top 20 Business Stories
In Play
Bond Ticker
Daily Stock Events
Macro Calls
Rasmussen Consumer/Investor Daily Indices
CNBC Guest Schedule

Earnings of Note

Upcoming Splits
ATVI 4-for-3

Economic Releases
None of note

BOTTOM LINE: Asian Indices are mostly lower, dragged down by electronics and steel producing companies in the region. I expect US stocks to open mixed and to rally modestly later in the day. The Portfolio is 100% net long heading into the week.

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