Sunday, December 18, 2005

Monday Watch

Weekend Headlines
- Wal-Mart Stores said December same-store sales at its US stores are rising within its forecast.
- Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise visit to Iraq, landing at Baghdad International Airport last night for meetings with local officials and hailing the “tremendous results” of last week’s elections there.
- Afghanistan will inaugurate its first parliament since 1969 at a ceremony today, following elections for the assembly held in September.
- Goldman Sachs, the world’s leading adviser on corporate mergers, reclaimed the top spot in a record year for takeovers in Asia outside Japan after arranging the biggest transactions in China.

Wall Street Journal:
- The US Patent and Trademark Office plans to accelerate its reexamination of five patents held by NTP that could be used to ban Research in Motion’s Blackberry device and e-mail service in the US.
- Vonage Holdings plans to raise another $250 million in a private sale of convertible debt, bringing the total raised by the Internet-based telephone carrier to $658 million.

NY Times:
- Chinese authorities have beaten, bribed and threatened residents of the southern village of Dongzhou to try to prevent them from disclosing details about a clash with security services on Dec. 6.
- The city of New Orleans will soon begin demolishing thousands of the homes most severely damaged by the flooding following Hurricane Katrina in the next several weeks.
- New Jersey awarded $5 million in grants for stem-cell research, becoming the first state to use public funds for that purpose.
- US Airways Group’s merger with America West Holdings may prompt further consolidation in the airline industry.
- eBay’s PayPal has grown to service more than 86.6 million accounts in 55 countries and it expects to process $25 billion in money transfers this year.

NY Post:
- Sirius Satellite Radio on average has spent more than $150 for each of the 1.06 million subscribers it’s gained as of Jan. 1.

San Francisco Chronicle:
- Google receives 150,000 resumes a month and uses perks including free food and annual ski trips to lure new hires.

San Jose Mercury News:
- Random security screening of passengers will return at airports Dec.22, two years after they were dropped.

Philadelphia Inquirer:
- United Parcel Service’s discount shipping offered on the Internet is undercutting the profit its UPS Store franchisees make on in-store fees.

LA Times:
- More victims of Hurricane Katrina came from middle-class neighborhoods than was previously thought, citing data from the state of Louisiana.

Financial Times:
- Music downloads are beginning to offset the decline in compact disc sales, citing unidentified record company executives.
- Lehman Brothers Holdings, Goldman Sachs Group and Bear Stearns will increase staff levels in 2006 after all three investment backs reported record profits.

- Most Americans favor leaving troops in Iraq until the country is stabilized, citing a Dec. 13-15 AP-Ipsos poll.

Nihon Keizai:
- Japan’s government expects the world’s second-largest economy to grow 1.9% in real terms next fiscal year.

Commercial Times:
- Acer Inc. forecasts its notebook computer sales will expand 50% in 2006 from this year, citing Chairman JT Wang.

Sunday Times:
- The value of acquisitions made by buyout firms this year will increase 12% to $41 billion, the most since 2000.

Iranian Republic News Agency:
- China and Iran may complete an agreement in January on the purchase of liquefied natural gas and investment in an Iranian oilfield, citing Iran’s deputy oil minister.

Weekend Recommendations
- Had positive comments on BA, NAPS, TRB, TIF, FDX, OSG, UTX, GE, ITT and AIG.

Goldman Sachs:
- Reiterated Outperform on PFE.

Night Trading
Asian indices are +.50% to +1.0% on average.
S&P 500 indicated +.20%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated +.12%.

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
HYSL 3-for-2

Economic Releases
1:00 pm EST
- The NAHB Housing Market Index for December is estimates to rise to 61 versus a reading of 60 in November.

BOTTOM LINE: Asian Indices are higher, led by technology shares in the region after oil fell the most in three months last Fri. I expect US stocks to open modestly higher and build on gains throughout the day. The Portfolio is 75% net long heading into the week.

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