Mid-Day Market Action

  • US:  Dow: 12258.09 (0.88%), S&P 500: 1259.35 (0.78%), NASDAQ: 2607.40 (0.67%)
  • Europe: CAC: 3127.56 (1.81%), DAX: 5848.78 (1.33%), FTSE: 5566.77 (1.07%).
  • Asia:Australia: 4071.10 (-0.43%),China: 2173.56 (0.16%),Hong Kong: 18397.92 (-0.66%),India: 4646.25 (-1.27%),Japan: 8398.89 (-0.29%),Korea: 1825.74 (0.03%),Singapore: 2672.78 (0.24%),
  • Metals: Gold: 1537.10 (-1.73 %), Silver: 27.30 (0.22%), Copper: 3.38 (0.28%)
  • Energy: Crude Oil: 99.49 (0.13%), Natural Gas: 3.02 (-3.24%)
  • Agriculture: Corn: 6.38 (-0.78%), Soya Bean: 11.89 (-0.75%), Wheat: 6.45 (-0.92%).
  • Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2939 (-0.0133%), GBP/USD: 1.5393 (-0.4273%), USD/JPY: 77.7010 (-0.3098%)
  • 10 year US Treasury: 1.899% (-0.019)

 

Market News Update

 

US stocks rise: U.S. stocks advanced, following yesterday’s decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as housing and labor market data signaled the world’s largest economy is weathering Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. Financial, industrial and commodity shares led the gains in the S&P 500. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204720204577128150514168584.html?mod=WSJ_Markets_LEFTTopStories


Gold keeps sliding: Gold and other precious metals slid further as investors continued to seek the flexibility of cash. The impetus behind the risk-averse attitude was news that the European Central Bank’s lending to banks has increased significantly, suggesting that its recent stimulus measures may be stumbling. The ECB balance sheet had reached a record high of €2.73 trillion ($3.568 trillion), and it remains to be seen whether the extra cash will reduce sovereign-debt problems.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/11359923/1/gold-sinks-amid-dollar-strength.html

Treasurys hold steady: Treasurys were little changed as traders assessed fresh economic data in holiday-thinned conditions. Prices were soft after theU.S. reported the number of workers filing for jobless benefits stayed under the key 400,000 level.

Euro falls to 17-month low: Selling pressure pushed the euro to its lowest level since mid-2010, and the currency could go even lower early next year. The euro slid as low as $1.2857 – a level not seen since July 2010

Weekly jobless claim drifts higher: NewU.S. claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, a government report showed on Thursday, but the underlying trend continued to point to improving labor market conditions. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 381,000, the Labor Department said. The prior week’s claims data was revised up to 366,000 from the previously reported 364,000.

 

Company News Update

 

  • For the third time in December, Verizon (VZ) customers around the nation experienced widespread outages of the company’s newer, faster 4G wireless service, as well as spotty performance of the older 3G service.
  • Oil and gas stocks rose slightly at the open Thursday, mirroring modest gains across the rest of the equity markets. Chevron Corp. (CVX) shares were leading percentage gainers, up 1% at $106.95, helping to lift the NYSE Arca Oil Index 0.6% to 1,222 points.
  • Tablets are set to be a hit with small- and medium-sized businesses in 2012, according to a new NPD survey, and Apple (AAPL) is set to gain the most as a result.
  • OAO Mechel (MTL) and OAO Gazprom (OGZPY) fell inNew York on concern that the surge in the European Central Bank’s balance sheet shows a lack of capacity for new loans, dimming the outlook for European growth andRussia’s commodity exports.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday charged Magyar Telecom, the largest telecommunications firm inHungary, and three former executives with bribery of officials inMacedonia andMontenegro. The SEC says that the trio “orchestrated, approved, and executed a plan” to bribe Macedonian officials in 2005 and 2006 to shut out a new competitor “and gain other regulatory benefits.”
  • Euro zone banks will continue to park their cash with the ECB in 2012 rather than lend it as recent cash injections offer little hope of thawing frozen inter-bank markets. Most of the euros that banks borrowed from the European Central Bank at a three-year tender last week ended up back with the ECB in the form of deposits, which hit a record high of 452 billion euros this week.

Hedge Fund News Update

 

  •  $351.7 billion US investment manager, Federated Investors, Inc., is acquiring Prime Rate Capital Management from UK hedge fund Matrix Group Limited.
  • Hedge funds run by Caxton Associates LP, SAC Capital Advisors LP, Avenue Capital and Blackstone Group LP have been buying housing-related investments, betting on a rebound. And formerly bearish research firm Zelman & Associates now predicts a housing pickup, as does Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
  • George Soros, the billionaire who two years ago called gold the “ultimate asset bubble,” cut 99 percent of his holdings in the first quarter, Securities and Exchange Commission data show. Hedge fund managers John Paulson, Paul Touradji and Eric Mindich also sold bullion this year.
  • New York-based hedge fund firm Octavian Advisors is being rebuffed in its request for Canadian company Enercare to hold a “special meeting” to elect new board members. The hedge fund, which is a 13% EnerCare shareholder, is also pushing the board to initiate a sale of the company.
  • Ernst & Young’s Oceania Transaction Advisory Services Leader Graeme Browning reckons private equity firms will continue to buy and sell mid-market businesses that would traditionally be candidates for initial public offerings or acquisition targets of S&P/ASX200 companies. According to Ernst & Young’s Capital Confidence Barometer published in October, 26% of Australian companies planned to make such divestments inside 12 months.  
  • Diamond Foods Inc. (DMND) rose after CNBC reported that hedge-fund manager David Einhorn had taken a stake in the snack maker, citing speculation.