Thursday, December 30, 2004

Thursday Watch

Earnings of Note
None of note.

BEBE 3-for-2

Economic Data
Initial Jobless Claims for last week estimated at 335K versus 333K the prior week.
Continuing Claims estimated at 2729K versus 2721 prior.
Chicago Purchasing Manager for December estimated at 63.0 versus 65.2 in November.

Affiliated Managers Group(AMG), a US company that owns stakes in 30 money management firms, will benefit from cash it invests in new companies, Business Week reported. Barr Pharmaceuticals(BRL) may benefit from $30 billion in patents that will expire by the end of 2007, Business Week reported.

Late-Night News
Asian indices are higher on optimism for exporters in the region. Lockheed Martin and Kerr McGee have set aside funds to pay for possible cleanups of perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel and fireworks, Business Week reported. China's top planning agency set an 8% ceiling on coal price increases next year amid an electricity shortage that's fueling demand for the commodity, the China Securities Journal reported. Tyco Intl.'s CEO Breen and Xerox Corp.'s CEO Mulcahy are among the best managers of 2004, Business Week said, after surveying its more than 130 writers and editors worldwide. China Life Insurance faces a formal investigation into its IPO by the US SEC, after the regulator stepped up its probe from an informal inquiry, the Financial Times reported. China will destroy imports from Taiwan with labels that designate the island as a nation, the Commercial Times reported. New prescriptions of Pfizer's painkiller Celebrex fell 56% last week, the Wall Street Journal reported. Bankruptcy filings by US public companies reached a 10-year low in 2004 as low interest rates, a strong economy and better access to financing helped troubled businesses amass cash and pay debts, Bloomberg reported. The Australian dollar is poised for its biggest drop in almost three weeks against the US dollar, tracking declines in the price of gold, copper and other commodity exports the currency is closely correlated with, Bloomberg said. Fannie Mae sold $5 billion of preferred stock after its regulator said it broke accounting rules and is "significantly undercapitalized," Bloomberg reported., Starbucks, Coca-Cola, FedEx and Pfizer are among US companies that have taken steps to provide aid to the survivors of the earthquake and tsunamis that struck South Asia on Dec. 26, Bloomberg said. India put coastal states and islands on alert against a "possible" tsunami and asked residents of low-lying areas to move to safer areas, Bloomberg reported.

Late-Night Trading
Asian Indices are +.25% to +1.0% on average.
S&P 500 indicated unch.
NASDAQ 100 indicated +.03%.

BOTTOM LINE: I expect U.S. equities to open mixed and move modestly higher throughout the day on strong economic reports, lower energy prices, strength in Asia, stabilizing US dollar/interest rates, short-covering, year-end positioning and more optimism. The Portfolio is 100% net long heading into tomorrow.

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