Sunday, September 17, 2006

Monday Watch

Weekend Headlines
- Pope Benefict XVI apologized today for offence caused by comments he made in a university lecture this week implicitly linking Islam to violence.
- Henry Paulson, who left Goldman Sachs(GS) in May to become the US Treasury Secretary, said he was surprised to learn the extent to which Iranian front companies had infiltrated the financial system, prompting him to organize an “education” program for banks and governments.
- General Motors(GM), trying to improve its image among environmentalists and consumers looking for better mileage, will build more than 100 hydrogen-fuel vehicles next year.
- National Intelligence Director Negroponte suggested interrogations of suspected terrorists have been curtailed because of legal concerns raised by a US Supreme Court ruling on the treatment of enemy combatants.
- When some of the world’s smartest investors earlier this year said buying sugar was the easiest way to make money in 2006, they would have been better off buying stocks in Jordan where the Amman SE General Index is down 23%. Sugar fell 34% from March 31 to the end of August.
- “The cyclical story in commodities is behind us,” said Jack Ablin, CIO at Harris Private Bank in Chicago, which manages $50 billion and sold its investment in commodities. The CRB Index just had its worst 3-week loss in almost 26 years.

Wall Street Journal:
- Symbol Technologies(SBL) is close to completing an auction of itself, which could result in the sale of the $3.2 billion wireless-equipment company in a matter of days.
- Steven Cohen, who runs the $10 billion hedge-fund firm SAC Capital Advisors LLC, holds stocks longer now and makes bigger bets when he does purchase them.

NY Times:
- Many US farmers have decided to profit from demand for ethanol by planting corn instead of wheat.
- At least nine US states have passed laws extending the age limits for health-insurance coverage parents can provide for their children.

Washington Post:
- The head of FEMA, under the US Dept. of Homeland Security, will get direct access to the president during a crisis and an increased budget as part of an agreement being negotiated by congressional lawmakers.

San Francisco Chronicle:
- Google Inc.(GOOG) executive Chris Sacca complained about the slow pace of negotiating a final agreement to provide free wireless Internet access in San Francisco.
- Frank Quattrone is reputed to be developing a new, $5 billion venture and stands to collect $120 million in back pay from CSFB.

- Saudi Arabia’s religious police, known as the Muttawa, issued a decree restricting the sale of cats and dogs as pets, regarded as a sign of Western influence. The mandate, which doesn’t state whether current pets would be confiscated, hasn’t been enforced yet.

Middle East Economic Digest:
- Royal Dutch Shell’s Oman venture expects bids this month for a contract to boost output from the Qarn Alam oil field, after it re-tendered the project when initial bids came in over budget.

- A niece of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il committed suicide in Paris because she did not want to return to the communist state, citing North Korean officials.

- Japan asked China to cut its steel output capacity earlier this month on concern an oversupply of products will result in a sharp price decline.

Weekend Recommendations
- Made positive comments on (EMR), (CLF) and (IVGN).
- Made negative comments on (OVTI).

- Reiterated Buy on (SNDK), target $69.

Night Trading
Asian indices are +.25% to +1.0% on average.
S&P 500 indicated +.05%
NASDAQ 100 indicated +.08%.

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
- None of note

Upcoming Splits
- None of note

Economic Releases
8:30 am EST
- The 2Q Current Account Deficit is estimated to widen to -$214.0 billion versus -$208.7 billion in 1Q.

9:00 am EST
- Net Foreign Security Purchases for July are estimated to come in at $70.0 billion versus $75.1 billion in June.

1:00 pm EST
- NAHB Housing Market Index for September fell to 31 versus a reading of 32 in August.

BOTTOM LINE: Asian Indices are higher, boosted by technology shares in the region. I expect US stocks to open modestly higher and to maintain gains into the afternoon. The Portfolio is 100% net long heading into the week.

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