Friday, March 12, 2004

Friday Watch

Earnings Announcements

None of note.

Economic Data
Business Inventories for Jan. estimated +.3% vs. +.3% in Dec.
Preliminary Univ. of Mich. Consumer Confidence estimated at 94.5 in March vs. 94.4 last month.

Goldman Sachs reiterating Outperform on FCE. Goldman, Morgan Stanley and ABN Amro said they lowered forecasts for the euro against the dollar amid signs Europe's economy is barely growing. PLCE is expected to benefit as it stocks its stores with better-quality merchandise and as rival Kids 'R' Us closes 146 outlets, Business Week reported in its "Inside Wall Street" column. GENZ may consider acquiring BIV, Business Week reported.

Late-Night News
Starbucks(SBUX) plans to start an in-store music service where customers will be able to make a custom CD from a selection of 250,000 songs, Business Week reported. U.S. local and long-distance telephone carriers have reached a tentative agreement to resolve a years-old dispute over how much long-distance phone companies should pay local carriers to connect their calls, Business Week said. France has stepped-up security on its border with Spain to high alert following the terrorist attacks in Madrid, the Financial Times said. Morgan Stanley is to reorganize its fixed-income dept. and will separate analysts from trading and sales staff to avoid potential conflicts of interest, FT said. The purported al-Qaeda letter sent to an Arabic Newspaper in London contained statements saying that an attack on the U.S. was 90% ready and would be carried out soon. President Roh Moo Hyun of South Korea was impeached by lawmakers who accused him of breaking laws that bar the president from publicly taking sides in parliamentary elections. The Korean KOSPI is down 3% on the news.

Late-Night Trading
Asian markets are lower, ranging from -1.0% to -1.75%, with South Korea dropping 3.0%.
S&P 500 indicated -.12%.
NASDAQ indicated -.21%.

BOTTOM LINE: Tomorrow should be another volatile day, as terror fears and declines in Asia will likely result in a lower open for U.S. shares. The short-term oversold state of the major indices, option expiration and high readings on various gauges of fear should lead to a good rally at some point tomorrow. I will look to add positions slowly into any significant weakness in the morning.

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