Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Wednesday Watch

Late-Night News
Asian indices are mostly higher, led by gains in China. JP Morgan will hold an investors' meeting next week on its credit- and debit-card business, the Wall Street Journal reported. North Korea doesn't have the technology necessary to attach nuclear warheads to missiles, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported, citing South Korea's National Intelligence Service as telling a government committee. Below-average snowfall in the Pacific Northwest may lead to higher electricity prices later in the year, the Wall Street Journal reported. China's imports of steel products fell 41% to 1.92 million metric tons in January compared with a year earlier, the Beijing-based customs office said. Fidelity Management raised its stake in Infosys Technologies to 5.65% of the company's equity, the Hindu Business Line reported. Tractebel SA and Norwegian ship-owner Leif Hoegh ASA plan a $900 million project near Boston to import liquefied natural gas, Lloyd's List reported. South Korea's government won't agree to any significant economic initiatives with North Korea until the issue over its nuclear weapons is resolved, Bloomberg reported. Shares of Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. and STATS ChipPAC Ltd. rose in Singapore after Applied Materials said the outlook for the computer chip industry is improving, Bloomberg said. Doctors and scientists will probably tell the FDA this week that Pfizer's Celebrex painkiller needs to carry a tougher warning of a link to heart attacks and strokes, Bloomberg reported. Pfizer and Merck are among pharmaceutical companies that are likely to consider buying smaller competitors this year because of additional cash from a one-time tax break, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Late Recommendations
-Goldman Sachs: Reiterated Outperform on GE, PFE, SYK and BBBY.
-Banc of America: Upgraded DJ to Buy.

Night Trading
Asian Indices are unch. to +.50% on average.
S&P 500 indicated unch.
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

INT 2-for-1

Economic Data
-Housing Starts for January are estimated to fall to 1925K versus 2004K in December.
-Building Permits for January are estimated to fall to 2000K versus 2021K in December.
-Industrial Production for January is estimated to rise .3% versus a .8% increase in December.
-Capacity Utilization for January is estimated to rise to 79.3% versus 79.2% in December.
-Greenspan report on Economy and Fed Policy.

BOTTOM LINE: I expect US equities to open mixed in the morning and move higher later in the day on strong earnings reports, more constructive Fed comments, lower energy prices, rebounding tech shares and increasing fund inflows. The Portfolio is 100% net long heading into tomorrow. Voting for the 2005 Business Blogging Awards ends today at 3pm EST and it is still a very tight race. Please take a few seconds to vote here for Between the Hedges in the Best Financial Industry/Investment Blog category. Thank you very much.

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