Sunday, December 19, 2004

Monday Watch

Earnings of Note

AIT 3-for-2
CNC 2-for-1

Economic Data
Leading Indicators for November estimated to rise .1% versus a .3% decline in October.

Weekend Recommendations
Rukeyser's Wall Street had guests that were positive on LU, PD, ITW, COH, UNH, TIF, HMA, HDI, CVD, PXP, CSH, CVX, COP and PFE. Forbes on Fox had guests that were positive on DRS and mixed on COO. Cashin' In had guests that were positive on GE, CIG, MAT and negative on AAPL, MU. Bulls and Bears had guests that were positive on GE, MER, GOOG, SAP, PPH, CTX, ABT, TIF and mixed on NVDA, COST, PAYX, BRCM. Wall St. Week w/Fortune had guests that were positive on BBY, TGT, JCP, AEOS, LTD, AAPL, mixed on WMT and negative on ZIXI, KKD. Barron's had positive comments on MOSY, TWX and negative comments on HSY. Goldman Sachs reiterated Outperform on MO, PFE, MDT, EBAY, DHR, INTC and underperform on UNM, RAI, MU, SGP.

Weekend News
Japan's crude steel production will likely reach a 30-year high this year, Nihon Keizai reported. AO VimpelCom's bill for $157 million of back taxes "appears exaggerated" and will be reviewed next week in talks between Russia's Finance Ministry and the tax service, Interfax reported. Germany will train more Iraqi military personnel, the daily newspaper Handelsblatt reported. The disclosure of problems in drugs from Pfizer, Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca shows that pharmaceutical companies are having trouble developing new drugs, the NY Times said. The ACLU is being criticized for using software to collect information about its members and donors, which goes against its support for privacy rights, the NY Times reported. Foxwoods Resort Casino and Las Vegas Sands will compete for a license to operated slot machines in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the Morning Call of Allentown reported. New Jersey will test a $1.5 million automatic road de-icing system on Route 78 this winter, the Morning Call reported. The UN reported it had found 150 allegations of sexual misconduct, including rape and sex with minors, by peacekeepers in the Congo, the NY Times reported. Xcel Energy has won approval form Colorado regulators to build a $1.35 billion coal-fired power plant in the state after agreeing to invest in pollution control and energy-efficiency programs, the Rocky Mountain News reported. Citigroup may buy Union State Bank for about $530 million to expand in Westchester and Rockland counties, New York, the NY Daily News reported. T-Mobile USA forecast growth to accelerate as the planned merger of two competitors helps it gain customers, Focus reported. BMW AG plans to modernize its factory in South Carolina to increase output there, Automobilwoche said. Vodafone Group Plc may back a bid by Verizon Communications for Sprint Corp. that would cost the British company at least $15 million, the Observer reported. Dell Inc. has sought to cut manufacturing costs by increasing productivity in its US operations instead of relying on overseas plants, the NY Times reported. Donations to major nonprofit organizations are on the rise nationally, Crain's NY Business reported. The Bush Administration is pressing the Pentagon to cut spending over the next several years to help cut the budget deficit, the LA Times reported. Microsoft lost market share to Firefox in Web browsers for the first time due in part to the outdated security programming of its Internet Explorer, the NY Times said. Pfizer agreed to suspend advertising of its Celebrex drug to consumers and change the way it markets the drug to doctors at the request of the US FDA, the Wall Street Journal reported. President Bush said Congress should seek to improve the US economy by making his tax cuts permanent, overhauling Social Security and limiting liability litigation to restrict junk lawsuits, Bloomberg reported. President Bush was named Time's "Person of the Year" in 2004, Time reported. Russia's property fund agreed to sell the largest oil unit of OAO Yukos Oil to OOO Baikalfinansgroup for $9.34 billion, Bloomberg reported. Centro Properties Group, Australia's fourth-largest real estate investment trust by market value, agreed to buy Kramont Realty Trust, a US shopping mall owner, for $610 million, Bloomberg reported. Honda Motor said its global sales of automobiles may rise 8% in 2005, on demand for new models like its Ridgeline light trucks, Bloomberg reported. Merrill Lynch plans to buy $400 million of asset-backed securities from LG Card Co. as South Korea's second-largest credit card company seeks a bailout to avoid collapse, Bloomberg reported. Nokia stands by its forecast that the global mobile phone market will grow by 10% next year, the Financial Times reported. A computer science professor at Rice Univ. and two of his students have found a security problem with Google's new desktop search program, the NY Times reported. The US FDA may soon issue a ruling on cox-2 painkiller drugs which could include a demand for their withdrawal, the Financial Times said.

Late-Night Trading
Asian indices are mostly higher, -.25% to +.50% on average.
S&P 500 indicated +.14%
NASDAQ 100 indicated +.31%.

BOTTOM LINE: I expect US stocks to open modestly higher in the morning on a decline in energy prices and a stronger Leading Indicators report. The Portfolio is 100% net long heading into tomorrow.

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