Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Mid-day Update

S&P 500 1,121.43 -.09%
NASDAQ 1,985.91 -.33%

Leading Sectors
Oil Service +2.59%
Energy +1.85%
Fashion +1.48%

Lagging Sectors
Gaming -1.12%
Airlines -1.22%
Semis -1.50%

Crude Oil 36.25 +2.26%
Natural Gas 5.71 +4.16%
Gold 423.10 +1.17%
Base Metals 112.28 +.02%
U.S. Dollar 88.30 -.37%
10-Yr. Long-Bond Yield 3.87% -.49%
VIX 16.67 +1.09%
Put/Call .54 -16.92%
NYSE Arms 1.08 +211.43%

Market Movers
VASC +53.86% after the maker of products that help doctors control patients' bleeding said a new version of one of its bandages received approval from the FDA.
NPSP +9.68% after saying its main experimental drug, Preos, was effective in a study that may lead to U.S. marketing approval.
INGR +17.31% after INTC said it would pay it $225M to settle a patent-infringement dispute over the Itanium chip.
ALDN +17.84% after raising 1Q guidance.
NSSC +13.88% after announcing a 2-for-1 split.
KVHI -9.72% after downgrade to Market Perform at CE Unterberg Towbin.
MATR -6.02% after lowering 1Q guidance.

Economic Data
Conference Board's Consumer Confidence for March was 88.3 vs. expectations of 86.0.

Goldman Sachs reiterated Outperform on MCH, PEP and ACN. GS cut S to Underperform. GS upgraded FD to Outperform. GS reiterated Underperform on SCS. Citi Smith Barney reiterated Buy on PEP. Citi removed MCH and CALD from focus list and adding EXTR. SWIR price target raised to $40.00 at CIBC. ATRX raised to Sector Outperform at CIBC. EMC rated Buy at Bank of America. MRO raised to Overweight at Lehman, target $40. TheStreet.com recommended ASYT. Cramer, of TheStreet.com, likes ERTS as MSFT left the video sports game biz.

Mid-day News
U.S. stocks are mostly lower mid-day on rising energy prices and profit-taking. Autodesk(ADSK) management said, "We are seeing increased demand across all geographies and industries, particularly in our Design Solutions Group." Russia's oil exports rose 22% from the start of the year to March 29, as the country's producers boosted output, said OAO Transneft. Crude oil futures rose after OPEC ministers said the group should reduce production targets as planned next month to prevent prices from sliding during the second quarter. U.S. House lawmakers proposed legislation to speed installation of airliners defenses against shoulder-fired missiles, saying the devices remain one of the greatest threats to aviation security, Bloomberg reported. Elaine Garzarelli told CNBC her models show that U.S. stocks are the cheapest they have been since before the 90's bull run, taking into account interest rates and profits.

BOTTOM LINE: The Portfolio is down today on weakness in airline and technology positions. I have taken profits in a few longs, bringing market exposure down to 100%. I will likely reduce this further on any strength in the afternoon. I don't want to have too much exposure into Friday's employment report.

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