Thursday, March 04, 2004

Thursday Watch

Earnings Announcements

POG 2-for-1

Economic Data
Non-farm Productivity(revised) estimated at 2.7% vs. 2.7% reported.
Unit Labor Costs(revised) estimated at -1.2% vs. -1.3% reported.
Initial Jobless Claims estimated at 345K last week vs. 350K prior week.
Continuing Claims estimated at 3,075K last week vs. 3,102K prior week.
Factory Orders estimated down .5% for Jan. vs. a 1.1% rise in Dec.

Bill Gross, of PIMCO, recommends investors buy shorter-term debt to protect against the likelihood inflation will accelerate.

Late-Night News
The U.S. asked China to drop a law that will limit imports of pagers, laptop computers and other wireless products, the Asian Wall Street Journal said. The Bush administration is considering allowing select Iraqi delegates appoint an interim parliament to govern the country until direct elections can be held there, the Wall Street Journal reported. France's upper house of parliament approved a ban on religious apparel in state schools, Agence France-Presse reported. Japan will hold its first auction of inflation-indexed bonds today, betting investors will buy the debt on expectations a consumer price decline that began in 98 will end in coming years. Disney's board of directors said it would separate the positions of chief executive officer and chairman, installing George Mitchell as a non-executive chairman. The board "remains unanimous in its support of the company's management team and of Michael Eisner, who will continue to serve as CEO," the board said in an e-mailed statement. AT&T Wireless shares are hovering about 9% below the price that Cingular Wireless agreed to pay for the carrier, reflecting investor concern that the deal's consummation may be delayed. Asian stocks are rising after Japanese and South Korean business confidence surveys suggested that companies will increase spending in the next quarter.

Late-Night Trading
Asian markets are mostly higher, ranging from -.3 to +1.4%.
S&P 500 indicated -.01%.
NASDAQ indicated +.24%.

BOTTOM LINE: It is probable the U.S. markets will remain relatively quiet tomorrow ahead of Fri.'s labor report and Intel's mid-quarter update after the close. I may add a few long positions in the semiconductor or biotech sectors at some point tomorrow. However, I do not plan to take the Portfolio's market exposure beyond 75% net long before Fri.

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