Friday, February 04, 2005

Friday Watch

Late-Night News
Asian indices are higher on optimism over the recent declines in energy prices and strength in commodity-related stocks in the region. The SEC will be asked for an extension to 2006 of the deadline for non-US companies to comply with Sarbanes Oxley legislation on accounting and corporate governance, the Financial Times said. India's foreign direct investment is expected to nearly double to $10 billion in the year ending March 31 from $5.6 billion a year earlier, the Financial Express said. President Bush's administration notified Congress today that it will provide an initial $41 million in aid to the Palestinians through the US Agency for International Development, Reuters reported. Devon Bank, a Chicago-based community bank, is working with Fannie Mae on developing home mortgages for Muslims who adhere to the law of the Koran, which forbids interest payments, Business Week reported. Sportingbet Plc, a London-based online gambling company, is helping to fund gambling portal Casino City's lawsuit against the US Justice Department, Business Week reported. The head of the UN/Iraqi Oil-for-food program from 1996 to 2003 created a "grave" conflict of interest by soliciting oil purchases on behalf of a trading company, Bloomberg reported. Sony Corp. will delay the European debut of its hand-held PlayStation Portable game player until after March, Bloomberg said. Rio Tinto Group, the world's third-largest mining company, may spend as much as $6 billion during the next two years as it expands iron ore, coal and copper mines to meet surging demand from China, Bloomberg reported. Japan Airlines, Asia's largest air carrier by sales, said it will buy up to 40 of the next generation of 737 aircraft made by Boeing, to replace its fleet of 737-400 planes and McDonnell Douglas models, Bloomberg reported.

Late Recommendations
-Goldman Sachs: Reiterated Outperform on IP. Reiterated Underperform on DCLK and PSS.

Night Trading
Asian Indices are +.25 to +.75% on average.
S&P 500 indicated +.16%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated +.13%.

Morning Preview
US AM Market Call
NASDAQ 100 Pre-Market Indicator/Heat Map
Pre-market Commentary
Before the Bell CNBC Video(bottom right)
Asian Indices
European Indices
Top 20 Business Stories
In Play
Bond Ticker
Analyst Actions
Macro Calls
CNBC Guest Schedule

Earnings of Note

None of note.

Economic Data
-Unemployment Rate for January is estimated at 5.4% versus 5.4% in December.
-Average Hourly Earnings for January is estimated to rise .2% versus a .1% increase in December.
-Change in Non-farm Payrolls for January is estimated at 200K versus 157K in December.
-Change in Manufacturing Payrolls for January is estimated at 5K versus 3K in December.
-Average Weekly Hours for January is estimated at 33.8 versus 33.8 in December.
-Final Univ. of Mich. Consumer Confidence for January is estimated to rise to 96.0 versus a prior estimate of 95.8.

BOTTOM LINE: I expect US equities to open modestly higher in the morning on a better-than-expected employment report and below-expectations consumer confidence report. This will likely send long-term interest rates and the US dollar higher. Stocks should improve on gains later in the day on more optimism, short-coving and bargain-hunting as a week filled will uncertainty ends. The Portfolio is 100% net long heading into tomorrow.

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