Thursday, February 02, 2006

Thursday Watch

Late-Night Headlines
- The US House voted to extend the USA Patriot Act until March 10, giving lawmakers more time to negotiate revisions in the anti-terrorism law.
- The US House of Representatives approved legislation today cutting the growth of government programs by $39 billion.
- Honda Motor’s(HMC) new Civic small car helped raise Honda’s US sales 21% last month, leading Asian brands to a sixth consecutive month of higher market share.
- US researchers used a common cold virus to create a vaccine that protected mice form the deadly bird flu, an approach that may help pandemic preparations, according to a report published by the medical journal Lancet.
- Pulte Corp.(PHM), the second-largest US homebuilder by stock market value, said fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped 45% because it sold more houses at higher prices.

Wall Street Journal:
- General Motors(GM) Chairman and CEO Wagoner said he agrees with suggestions made by Tracinda Corp. adviser Jerome York, who wants the automaker to reduce its dividend by half and cut executive salaries among other reorganization efforts.
- Three former top executives of a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway(BRK/A) and a former American International Group(AIG) official were indicted by a federal grand jury in Virginia in an accounting probe of the two companies.

Financial Times:
- Sasol Ltd., the world’s biggest producer of motor fuel from coal, will speed up talks to bring its coal-to-liquids technology to the US after President Bush’s call for greater energy independence, citing CEO Pat Davies.
- Merrill Lynch(MER) is “seriously” considering a bid valued at about $6 billion for LG Card Co., South Koreas’ No. 2 credit-card issuer.

- West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin ordered all state mines closed until officials can conduct safety checks.
- Saudi Arabia and Qatar pledged to give the Palestinian Authority financial aid after Israel delayed the transfer of tax funds following the victory of the Hamas terror group in elections.

Late Buy/Sell Recommendations
Goldman Sachs:
- Reiterated Outperform on (COF), (FORM) and (MUR).
- Reiterated Underperform on (BA), (OMI) and (BUD).

Night Trading
Asian Indices are -.25% to +1.0% on average.
S&P 500 indicated -.11%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated -.15%.

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
Company/EPS Estimate

Upcoming Splits
- None of note

Economic Releases
8:30 am EST
- Preliminary 4Q Non-farm Productivity is estimated to rise .5% versus a 4.7% gain in 3Q.
- Preliminary 4Q Unit Labor Costs are estimated to rise 3.5% versus a 1.0% decline in 3Q.
- Initial Jobless Claims are estimated to rise to 295K versus 283K the prior week.
- Continuing Claims are estimated to rise to 2585K versus 2581K prior.

BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are mostly higher, spurred by gains in exporters in the region after oil fell and the US dollar rose. I expect US equities to open mixed and to rally later in the afternoon, fishing modestly higher. The Portfolio is 100% net long heading into the day.

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