Sunday, December 11, 2005

Monday Watch

Weekend Headlines
- Two-thirds of US company executives surveyed said they intend to increase capital spending over the next 12 months, according to Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business. The average increase is expected to be 9%.
- Microsoft released its Xbox 360 game console in Japan today, about three months ahead of Sony’s PlayStation 3.
- Wal-Mart Stores said December same-store sales at its US stores are rising within its forecast.
- Saudi Arabia joined other members from OPEC in saying the group should maintain current production to meet demand during the Northern Hemisphere winter.
- The Fed may say monetary policy is no longer stimulating the economy after it raises interest rates for the 13th time, according to more than half of Wall Street’s biggest bond trading firms.
- Viacom’s Paramount Pictures agreed to buy DreamWorks SKG for $1.6 billion in cash and debt, wresting the movie studio away from NBC Universal and securing the talents of Steven Spielberg.
- Walt Disney’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” opened as the No. 1 film in the US and Canadian theaters with an estimated $67.1 million in ticket sales, the second-best December debut ever.
- Louisiana is among three US states interested in being the site of a joint venture refinery with Kuwait.

Wall Street Journal:
- Delphi Corp. CEO Miller said he’s putting together a new contract proposal for UAW at the No. 1 US auto-parts maker.
- ConocoPhilliops is in advanced discussions to acquire Burlington Resources, an oil and gas producer, for more than $30 billion.

- US stocks will rise 5% to 25% next year as the economy expands, corporate profits mount and the Fed ends its string of short-term rate increases, Wall Street strategists said.

NY Times:
- Senator Joe Lieberman, a Democrat from Connecticut, has angered many Democratic activists and alienated some from his party in Congress over his support for the US liberation of Iraq.
- US courts have become less cooperative with prosecutors seeking the right to gain cellular-phone tracking information from wireless companies without showing “probable cause.”
- California’s $3 billion stem-cell institute, beset by lawsuits, criticism and bureaucracy since its formation more than a year ago, has yet to spend a single dollar on research.
- The campaigning for candidates and parties in Iraq’s parliamentary elections next week has been sophisticated with text messages being sent to cell phones, and chaotic with gunfire and murders.
- FEMA will extend its deadline for paying for hotel rooms for most survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
- Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio Holdings are about to leap forward, as Howard Stern joins Sirius and both companies introduce portable receivers.
- About 6,000 subway and bus workers voted yesterday to authorize the union to strike if an agreement isn’t reached with New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority on a new contract by Dec. 15.

NY Post:
- The board of Albertson’s, the second-biggest US supermarket chain, is meeting this weekend to evaluate final bids from a number of investment firms.

Washington Post:
- Clerics from Iraq’s majority Shiite and minority Sunni sects of Islam are using their pulpits in the country’s mosques to urge voters to back their respective blocs in the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections.
- American Online co-founder Steve Case wrote that parent company Time Warner should be split into four independent companies.

Financial Times:
- Richard Branson, the UK billionaire who owns a majority stake in Virgin Mobile Holdings Plc, may have to accept a lower price for his stake to push through a takeover offer from NTL Inc.

Canadian Press:
- Canada plans to allow government departments to cancel contracts with US companies if they pass data about Canadian citizens to US anti-terrorism investigators.

Iran Daily:
- Iran has started construction work on a 360-megawatt nuclear power plant in Khuzestan province, citing the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

Korea Economic Daily:
- Hynix Semiconductor of South Korea plans to increase production of NAND flash memory to 40% of total output next year from 30% now on rising demand from consumer electronics makers.

Weekend Recommendations
- Had positive comments on WMT.

Goldman Sachs:
- Reiterated Outperform on CRL and PKG.

Night Trading
Asian indices are unch. to +1.25% on average.
S&P 500 indicated +.28%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated +.29%.

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

Earnings of Note

Upcoming Splits
GOL 2-for-1
JOYG 3-for-2
RES 3-for-2

Economic Releases
10:00 am EST
- The Monthly Budget Deficit for November is estimated to widen to -$80.0 billion versus -$57.9 billion in October.

BOTTOM LINE: Asian Indices are higher, led by exporting shares in the region after oil fell below $60/bbl. and US consumer confidence exceeded estimates last Fri. I expect US stocks to open modestly higher and build on gains throughout the day. The Portfolio is 100% net long heading into the week.

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