Thursday, March 25, 2004

Thursday Watch

Earnings Announcements

AMSG 3-for-2
RJF 3-for-2

Economic Data
Final 4Q GDP estimated at 4.1%.
Initial Jobless Claims last week estimated at 340K vs. 336K prior week.
Existing Home Sales for Feb. estimated at 6.12M vs. 6.04M in Jan.
Help Wanted Index estimated at 39 in Feb. vs. 38 in Jan.

Goldman Sachs reiterated Underperform on RNWK and THC. GS reiterated Outperform on KMI, TYC and KMR. JP Morgan cut its estimate for the euro against the U.S. dollar after it reduced its estimate for economic growth in the European Union. JP Morgan said the yen may rally 12% to 95 per dollar by year-end, boosting its forecast from 99, as economic growth in Japan attracts foreign investment.

Late-Night News
Asian stocks are mostly lower with Japan's Nikkei being the lone stand-out on the upside. Japanese stocks rose after a government report showed a widening trade surplus, adding to optimism that the pace of economic growth can be sustained, reported Bloomberg. The European Union may log all airline passengers arriving from the U.S. to allow it to collect similar data to the U.S.' monitoring of travelers from European destinations, the Financial Times reported. Nokia's sales from it Indian operations rose 97% to more than $1.21B in 03, making the country its fastest growing market after the United Arab Emirates, the Business Standard reported. Human Genome Sciences'(HGSI) Chairman and CEO will leave the company later this year once a successor is found, the NY Times reported. Nokia(NOK) executives bought shares worth millions of euros in the past year, the Helsingin Sanomat reported.

Late-Night Trading
Asian Indices -1.25% to +.25%. Japan's Nikkei +1.46%.
S&P 500 indicated +.12%.
NASDAQ indicated +.25%.

BOTTOM LINE: The Nikkei will break a double top on a close above 11,577. The world's 3rd largest economy is finally improving after years of dragging down world economic growth. This is a very positive development and I would not underestimate its consequences. The Semiconductor Index is still hovering right near its 200-day moving average. If the SOX can hold its recent lows, after Micron's relatively disappointing report, or rise tomorrow I would expect the entire tech sector to benefit. This should then lead to broad-market countertrend rally. The Portfolio is 25% net long.

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