Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Tuesday Watch

Late-Night News
Asian indices are mixed as rising technology shares are being offset by declining financial stocks in the region. Time Warner's America Online is in talks with Comcast Corp. and other cable groups over possible joint ventures to increase broadband customer figures, the Financial Times reported. China's central bank will encourage financial institutions to expand credit and spur industrial growth in the country's western provinces, state-run Xinhua news agency said. South Korea's government proposed military talks with North Korea as tensions mount over North Korea's announcement it has nuclear weapons, the AP reported. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway doubled its holdings of Comcast to 10 million shares in the fourth quarter, Bloomberg reported. Billionaire investor George Soros sold his stakes in Anheuser-Busch and Baxter International, while adding Altria Group, Applied Micro Circuits, Cisco Systems and Dupont to his holdings, Bloomberg said. Consumer satisfaction with Internet commerce sites including Amazon.com and EBay fell in the fourth quarter for the first time since measurements began being taken in 2000, Bloomberg reported. President Bush is beginning to make progress in convincing US textile makers to drop their opposition to a trade agreement with Central American nations, Bloomberg reported. US Senate investigators said today the former head of the UN/Iraqi oil-for-food program may have broken US criminal laws, and accused a UN contractor in Iraq of taking a bribe to circumvent the humanitarian effort, Bloomberg said. Newly obtained documents from the Iraqi government may show Saddam Hussein's regime gave Benon Sevan, the director of the UN program, about $1.2 million in oil vouchers, Bloomberg reported. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whose $13 billion stake in Citigroup suffered as the company lurched from scandal to scandal for three years, said Chairman Sanford Weill and CEO Charles Prince assured him the worst is over, Bloomberg said. Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, ChevronTexaco and other oil companies are investing $20 billion to build a plant in Qatar that will turn natural gas into a cleaner-burning automotive fuel, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Late Recommendations
CSFB: Raised Japanese Technology stocks to Neutral from Underweight.

Night Trading
Asian Indices are -.25% to +.25% on average.
S&P 500 indicated -.01%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated unch.

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
-Empire Manufacturing for February is estimated to fall to 20.0 versus a reading of 20.08 in January.
-Advance Retail Sales for January are estimated to fall .5% versus a rise of 1.2% in December.
-Retail Sales Less Autos for January are estimated to rise .4% versus a .3% increase in December.
-Net Foreign Security Purchases for December are estimated to fall to $60.0B versus $81.0B in November.
-Business Inventories for December are estimated to rise .2% versus a 1.0% gain in November.
-The NAHB Housing Market Index for February is estimated to fall to 69 versus a reading of 70 in January.

BOTTOM LINE: I expect US equities to open modestly higher in the morning on strong earnings reports, good economic reports and rebounding tech shares. The Portfolio is 100% net long heading into tomorrow.

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