Mid-Day Market Action
- US: Dow: 11823.33 (-0.38%), S&P 500: 1215.20 (-0.05%), NASDAQ: 2548.33 (0.29%)
- Europe: CAC: 2972.30 (-0.89%), DAX: 5701.78 (-0.51%), FTSE: 5387.34 (-0.25%).
- Asia:Australia: 4159.20 (0.47%),China: 2224.84 (1.97%),Hong Kong: 18285.39 (1.41%),India: 4651.60 (-2.00%),Japan: 8401.72 (0.29%),Korea: 1839.96 (1.13%),Singapore: 2659.22 (0.90%),
- Metals: Gold: 1592.10 (0.94%), Silver: 29.45 (0.60%), Copper: 3.32 (1.68%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 92.91 (-1.02%), Natural Gas: 3.13 (0.10%)
- Agriculture: Corn: 5.82 (0.56%), Soya Bean: 11.27 (1.37%), Wheat: 5.83 (0.60%).
- Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3004 (-0.089%), GBP/USD: 1.5494 (-0.131%), USD/JPY: 77.8088 (-0.061%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.847% (-0.060)
Market News Update
- Rally fades: Early morning gains in the Dow were eroded after a steep slide in IBM dragged the market into negative territory. Other averages remained positive but shed much of their gains following the close of European markets. Treasuries extended their advance and the dollar erased losses against the euro.
- Former top executives charged: Ex-Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae CEOs’ were sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for understating by hundreds of billions of dollars the sub-prime loans held by the firms.
- France Outlook revised to negative: Fitch ratings agency says it is keepingFrance’s credit grade at Triple-A, but it is revising its outlook on the key eurozone nation to negative from stable. Fitch saysFrance’s credit grade is supported by the country’s wealthy and diversified economy and noted the government has adopted several measures to strengthen its finances. It said, however, thatFrance’s debt is expected to rise to a peak of 92 percent of GDP in 2014.
- Inflation cools in November: U.S. consumer prices were flat in November as Americans paid less for cars and gasoline, a further sign of a cool down in inflation that could give the Federal Reserve more room to help a still-weak economy.
Company News Update
- Ratings firm Fitch downgraded some of the world’s leading banks, citing “increased challenges” in the financial markets. Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS), BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank had their long-term ratings cut by one notch.
- Game-maker Zynga (ZNGA) went public today, and raised around $1 billion in its IPO, valuing the company at around $7 billion.
- Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM) opened Friday sharply lower, as investors reacted to the company’s weak projections for the current quarter and news that its next-generation phone wouldn’t be launched until the latter half of next year
- World’s largest equipment rental company United Rentals Inc. (URI.N) will buy rival RSC Holdings (RRR.N), in a bid to counter a weak commercial construction market.
- Restaurant industry veteran Tilman Fertitta will buy high-end steakhouse Morton’s Restaurant Group Inc. (MRT.N) in a deal worth $117 million.
- Darden Restaurants (DRI) today announced a drop of 28% in its fiscal second-quarter profits due to deteriorating sales at its Olive Garden restaurants.
- Cell-tower company Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI) agreed to buy NextG Networks Inc. for about $1 billion in cash from private-equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners.
Hedge Fund News Update
- Julian Robertson, legendary hedge fund manager, founder of Tiger Global Management and newly-appointed chairman of private equity fund Forstmann Little, sees great potential inChina but warns investors should proceed with caution.
- According to news reports, Boyer Allan Investment Management is shutting two of its hedge funds after losses and a fall in assets this year. Boyer Allan Pacific Fund and Boyer Allan Greater China Fund will be added to the lengthening list ofAsia focused funds that have closed this year.
- Old Mutual Asset Managers, the $380m hedge fund arm of Old Mutual, has recorded stellar 2011 returns, in three of its four funds.
- Two men claiming to run New Jersey-based hedge funds, using a secret computer program, to invest in foreign currency have been charged for allegedly defrauding victims out of more than $3.5 million.
- New Century Hedge Fund Partners LP portfolio manager Ward Onsa pleaded guilty in aNew York federal court on Thursday to securities fraud in relation to $5 million he solicited from investors through a Ponzi scheme.