Thursday, December 16, 2004

Thursday Watch

Earnings of Note

LCAV 3-for-2

Economic Data
Current Account Balance for 3Q estimated at -$170.6B versus -$166.2B in 2Q.
Housing Starts for November estimated at 1980K versus 2027K in October.
Building Permits for November estimated at 2000K versus 2018K in October.
Initial Jobless Claims for last week estimated at 342K versus 357K the prior week.
Continuing Claims estimated at N/A versus 2796K prior.
Philadelphia Fed. for December estimated at 20.5 versus 20.7 in November.
Minutes of Nov. 10 FOMC Meeting.

Goldman Sachs reiterated Outperform on BBBY, AMGN, IP and Underperform on AZR, HMT, VTS. Banc of America upgraded BIIB to Buy.

Late-Night News
Asian indices are quietly higher, led by Korean and Australian shares. Carlyle Group, a U.S. buyout fund, will acquire a 25% stake in China Pacific Life Insurance, the nation's third-biggest life insurer, for up to $400 million, in the biggest overseas private-equity purchase in China, the Financial Times reported. China's Supreme People's Court will issue new rules making piracy and counterfeiting of software and other goods a more severe criminal offense, stepping up the nation's crackdown on bootlegged intellectual property, China Daily reported. Isuzu Motors, Japan's largest truckmaker, is in talks with GM to get more steel as a worldwide shortage of the material crimps automakers, the Sankei newspaper said. Samsung said it expects to increase mobile phone sale by about 16% next year to more than 100 million units, Korea Economic Daily reported. Latin America's economy will grow by 5.5% this year, the fastest in 24 years, the Financial Times reported. Fannie Mae, the biggest source of money for U.S. home mortgages, failed to comply with accounting rules for financial contracts designed to protect against swings in interest rates, the SEC said. Johnson & Johnson agreed to acquire Guidant for $25.4 billion, adding electrical devices for treating heart disease to a lineup of thousands of health products ranging from Band-Aids to cardiac stents, Bloomberg reported.

Late-Night Trading
Asian Indices are +.25%. to +.50% on average.
S&P 500 indicated +.02%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated -.06%

BOTTOM LINE: I expect U.S. equities to open modestly higher on better-than-expected economic/earnings reports, short-covering and merger activity. The Portfolio is 125% net long heading into tomorrow.

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