Thursday, June 19, 2008

Friday Watch

Late-Night Headlines
- New Short-selling Targets on the NYSE. Here are the 25 NSYE stocks with the largest increase in short interest relative to their floats during the first two weeks of June:
- Moody’s Investors Service stripped MBIA Inc.(MBI) and Ambac Financial Corp.(ABK) of their Aaa, following Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, ending the bond insurers’ run of at least two decades at the top of the ratings scale.
- South Korea, the world’s fifth-biggest crude oil buyer, cut oil-produce use in May by 1.4 percent from a year earlier as higher prices curbed demand. Crude oil imports in May were revised to 76 million barrels, down 2.6 percent from 78 million a year earlier.
- India, Asia’s biggest supplier of soybean meal, may plant a record soybean crop for a second year after prices rose to all-time highs and as early rainfall increases sowing.
- Crude oil fell for a second day in NY, extending a decline of more than $4 a barrel yesterday on speculation demand will fall as China raises fuel prices.
- Wheat Falls on ‘Phenomenal’ Winter-Crop Yields in Oklahoma.

Wall Street Journal:
- Beijing Continues Search for Balance on Olympic Beam. TV Media Complain Of a Lack of Access; NBC’s Finesses Game.
- Planned Yahoo(YHOO) Reorganization May Spark Executive Departures.
- China Mobile told to get 100 million users for home-grown 3G.
- Firefox heats up new browser war against Microsoft. Software giant updating Internet Explorer to keep pace with rival, industry.
- Hedge Funds in Crosshairs. Why charges in Bear Stearns(BSC) case may be just the beginning.

- The girlfriend of missing hedge fund swindler Samuel Israel III was arrested Thursday and charged with helping him elude his sentence on the day he was supposed to begin serving 20 years in prison.

- Bank of America(BAC) expects to complete its acquisition of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp.(CFC) by July 1.
- Short interest on the NYSE soared 7.4% to 17,654,000,000 shares during the first two weeks of June, rising to another new record high as investors increased bets against financial firms.

Financial Times:
- The past few days have been among the longest days in the short history of stock market trading in China. On Thursday, the Shanghai Composite closed at 2,748, down 6.5% on the day and off more than 50% from the market’s peak last October. According to one recent poll conducted by Chinese television, more than 80 per cent of those surveyed said the government was at fault for their market losses. Some stock market analysts say this kind of talk creates a self-perpetuating cycle where punters bet on what the government will do next, rather than on fundamentals. But most analysts think the government has little room for maneuver, and that any state action is likely to have only a short-lived effect on the market. Inflation, the related impact on corporate profits and the high price of crude oil are likely to continue to depress the market whatever the government does - while the index could well fall further before reaching bottom.

- Hedge funds are continuing to feel the full force of the credit crunch, with 170 funds forced into liquidation during the first quarter, a Chicago research firm reported yesterday. The bleak figures published by Hedge Fund Research also showed that fewer funds were launched over the three-month period than at any time since 2000.

The Australian:
- Telstra belatedly joining the iPhone circus. Telstra will join Optus and Vodafone in launching the new 3G version of Apple’s(AAPL) new iPhone here in July and Telstra chief Sol Trujillo may make an announcement next week.

Late Buy/Sell Recommendations

- Reiterated Buy on (UTHR), target $130.
- Reiterated Buy on (CAG), target $33.
- Downgraded (IRF) to Sell, target $22.

Raymond James:
- Rated (SFSF) Strong Buy, target $17.
- Rated (RNOW) Strong Buy, target $20.50.

- Rated (UPS) Outperform, target $82.50.

Night Trading
Asian Indices are -.75% to +1.25% on average.
S&P 500 futures -.16%.
NASDAQ 100 futures -.11%.

Morning Preview
US AM Market Call
NASDAQ 100 Pre-Market Indicator/Heat Map
Pre-market Commentary
Pre-market Stock Quote/Chart
Before the Bell CNBC Video(bottom right)
Global Commentary
WSJ Intl Markets Performance
Commodity Movers
Top 25 Stories

Top 20 Business Stories
Today in IBD
In Play
Bond Ticker
Economic Preview/Calendar
Daily Stock Events
Rasmussen Business/Economy Polling

Earnings of Note
Company/EPS Estimate
- (WGO)/.03

Upcoming Splits
- None of note

Economic Releases
- None of note

Other Potential Market Movers
- The BIO International Convention and (WU) investor conference could also impact trading today.

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

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