Thursday, March 22, 2007

Friday Watch

Late-Night Headlines
- Russ Koesterich, who helps oversee $1.7 trillion at Barclays Global Investments says US sub-prime turmoil “looks contained.”
- New Century Financial(NEWC), struggling with a surge in bad loans and short on cash, said Barclays Plc dropped demands that the sub-prime lender buy back mortgages valued at $900 million.
- The US dollar headed for a weekly gain against the yen as investors pared bets the Fed will cut interest rates by June.
- Kraft Foods(KFT) will join the S&P 500, becoming the biggest company by market value to do so since Google Inc.(GOOG) last year, after Altria Group(MO) distributes its 89% stake to shareholders.
- Owl Creek Asset Management LP and seven other hedge funds disclosed their holdings in bankrupt Northwest Airlines(NWACQ), yielding to a federal judge’s order.
- The United Nations Security Council formally introduced a draft resolution that would freeze the assets of a state-owned Iranian bank and bar some exports from the country, to pressure Iran to suspend its nuclear program.

Business Week:
- Motion-capture technology, which grew out of Hollywood movie-making, is being used by other industries as the cost of the hardware and software involved falls. Anyone making a PowerPoint presentation soon will be able to operate the technology developed by Los Angles-based Gesture Studios, which uses cameras to track hand movements and translate them into computer instructions.

London-based Times:
- Iraq’s Kurdish area aims for an oil production of one million barrels a day within five years, citing Ashti Hawrami, the oil minister for Iraqi Kurdistan. Speaking in London yesterday, Hawrami said Kurdistan aims to be the “hub” for Iraq’s future oil industry and wants to sign as many as 10 exploration contracts by the end of the year.

China Daily:
- PetroChina Co. is pumping an initial 500 metric tons a day of crude oil from its new field in Bohai Bay off the coast of northeastern China. PetroChina will announce in the first half of this year details of a “very rich” new oilfield in Bohai Bay, Vice Chairman Jiang Jiemin told reporters on March 19. The field is the largest find in China in the past decade.

Late Buy/Sell Recommendations
- Reiterated Buy on (AIZ), target $62.
- Reiterated Buy on (NKE), target $115.

Business Week:
- Ultralife Batteries Inc.(ULBI), a maker of industrial and military lithium batteries, has attracted an investor who has “steadily been buying shares” because of the company’s potential to be acquired. Investment firm Grace Brothers has accumulated a 30% stake in the company since last year.

Night Trading
Asian Indices are -.25% to +.50% on average.
S&P 500 indicated -.03%.
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
- (FRE)/1.42

Upcoming Splits
- (KMX) 2-for-1
- (HSC) 2-for-1

Economic Releases
10:00 pm EST
- Existing Home Sales for February are estimated to fall to 6.30M versus 6.46M in January.

BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are mostly higher, boosted by financial and energy shares in the region. I expect US equities to open modestly lower and to rally into the afternoon, finishing mixed. The Portfolio is 100% net long heading into the day.

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