Thursday, January 11, 2007

Friday Watch

Late-Night Headlines
- Fourteen advisers to former US President Jimmy Carter’s center for human rights resigned today, citing his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They quit in reaction to Carter’s book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” as well as his statements since its publication. Carter portrays the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a “purely one-sided affair,” with Israel holding all of the responsibility for resolving it. “You have clearly abandoned your historic role of broker in favor of becoming an advocate for one side,” the group wrote in a letter, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg. “Your book has confused opinion with fact, subjectivity with objectivity and force for change with partisan advocacy.”
- Crude oil may fall toward $50 a barrel as plunging US fuel consumption bolsters stockpiles in the world’s biggest energy consumer, a Bloomberg survey of 47 analysts, traders and brokers showed.
- The US dollar rose to the highest in 13 months against the yen before a US government report today that will probably show retailers had the strongest back-to-back sales in almost a year at the end of 2006.
- Advanced Micro Devices’(AMD) fourth-quarter profit tumbled because of falling semiconductor prices sparked by Intel’s(INTC) push to regain market share.
- Starbucks(SBUX) will enter India by tying up with Kishore Biyani, head of the country’s biggest publicly traded retailer, and VP Sharma, president of the US company’s Indonesian franchise.
- Sales of Sony’s(SNE) PlayStation 3 video-game console lagged behind Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s(MSFT) Xbox 360 during the US holiday season after production glitches limited supplies.
- Copper futures in Shanghai are falling, erasing some of this week’s advance from a nine-month low as rising global stockpiles renewed concern that demand for the metal may be slowing.
- Australia warned “imminent” terror attacks in southern Philippines may occur “anytime” during a meeting of Asian leaders in the central part of the country.
- Global steel prices led by the US may fall this year driven down by increasing output from Asian mills, Wachovia Corp. said.
- China Petrochemical Corp., the nation’s second-biggest oil company, said overseas crude oil output more than doubled in 2006 after it acquired oilfields in Russia and Ecuador.

Financial Times:
- China’s government has halted the start of new domestic equity funds amid concerns the nation’s stock market risk over-heating.

Late Buy/Sell Recommendations
- Positive trends in wage growth and unemployment, along with continued energy price declines and the current steady interest rate environment, point to solid macroeconomic footing and a healthy consumer for 2007.

Business Week:
- Sempra Energy(SRE), owner of San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas, is driving its stock higher by acquiring and developing energy assets, citing Paul Justice of Morningstar.
- Thermage Inc.(THRM), which makes medical devices for the non-invasive treatment of wrinkles, is expected to climb when the company releases a new product, citing Katherine Owen, an analyst at Merrill Lynch.
- Lockheed Martin(LMT) will benefit from threats to US security and the replacement of aging defense equipment, citing S&P analyst Richard Tortoriello.

- Reiterated Outperform on (LVLT) and raised 07 estimates, target $7.50.

Night Trading
Asian Indices are +1.0% to +1.50% on average.
S&P 500 indicated +.08%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated +.04%.

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
Conference Calendar
Daily Stock Events
Macro Calls
Rasmussen Consumer/Investor Daily Indices
CNBC Guest Schedule

Earnings of Note
Company/EPS Estimate
- (CACB)/.36
- (WFSL)/.40

Upcoming Splits
- (BKE) 3-for-2

Economic Releases
8:30 am EST
- The Import Price Index for December is estimated to rise .6% versus a .2% rise in November.
- Advance Retail Sales for December are estimated to rise .7% versus a 1.0% gain in November.
- Retail Sales Less Autos for December are estimated to rise .5% versus a 1.1% increase in November.

10:00 am EST
- Business Inventories for November are estimated to rise .4% versus a .4% increase in October.

2:00 pm EST
- The Monthly Budget Surplus for December is estimated to rise to $25.6 billion versus $11.0 billion in November.

BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are sharply higher, boosted by technology and automaker shares in the region. I expect US equities to open modestly lower and to rally into the afternoon, finishing mixed. The Portfolio is 75% net long heading into the day.

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