Mid-Day Market Action
- US: Dow: 12688.54 (0.51%), S&P 500: 1312.41 (-0.17%), NASDAQ: 2784.05 (-0.15%)
- Europe: CAC: 3321.50 (-0.22%), DAX: 6404.39 (-0.19%), FTSE: 5728.55 (-0.22%).
- Asia:China: 2319.12 (0.99%),Hong Kong: 20110.37 (0.83%),India: 5048.60 (0.60%),Japan: 8766.36 (1.45%)
- Metals: Gold: 1663.50 (0.54%), Silver: 31.74 (4.02%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 100.57 (0.18%), Natural Gas: 2.35 (1.16%)
- Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2928 (-0.3116%), GBP/USD: 1.5542 (0.3498%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 2.026% (0.049)
Market News Update
S&P 500 falls: The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell, snapping a three-day advance, amid disappointing results at companies including Google Inc. and American Express Co. The Dow Jones industrial average added 64 points, or 0.5%. The S&P 500 lost 2 points, or 0.2%. The Nasdaq shed 4 points, or 0.2%.
Crude slips below $100: Crude oil prices receded below $100 a barrel on Friday as fears about a conflict withIran ebb and the energy market mulls a sharp drop in weekly gasoline demand. The retreat in energy prices, highlighted by a plunge in the price of natural gas to decade lows, may help ease pressure on cash-strapped consumers and struggling businesses.
Copper prices rebound: Copper traders are the least bearish in a month as the metal has its best start to a year since 2009 and stockpiles tracked by the world’s biggest metals exchange were poised to slump to the lowest in 2 1/2 years.
U.S. home sales rise in December: Home sales rose in December to the highest pace in nearly a year. The gain coincides with other signs that show the troubled housing market improved at the end of last year. The National Association of Realtors said Friday that sales increased 5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.61 million, the best level since January 2011 and the third straight monthly increase.
Company News Update
- General Electric (GE) reported a 20% drop in fourth-quarter profit on Friday, hurt by the lingering impact related to the sale of its majority stake in NBC Universal to Comcast (CMCSA) last year.
- American Express (AXP) lost 2 percent to $49.92. The company reported fourth quarter revenue of $7.74 billion, missing the average analyst projection of $7.9 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Profit excluding some items beat analysts’ estimates as card spending reached a record.
- Google (GOOG) tumbled 8.2 percent to $587.14, on the back of disappointing results. Chief Executive Officer Larry Page is moving into new markets to ignite growth outside Google’s traditional search-based business.
- Intel (INTC) increased 1.9 percent to $26.11. The chipmaker predicted first-quarter revenue that may top analysts’ estimates, signaling that the shortage of disk drives that throttled personal computer production may be ending.
- Microsoft (MSFT) added 4.8 percent to $29.47. The company’s Xbox business got a boost from Christmas shoppers, who snapped up its video-game consoles and Kinect sensor controllers, and signed up for the Xbox Live online service.
- IBM (IBM) gained 4.3 percent to $188.35 after forecasting 2012 earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as fourth-quarter profit rose 4.4 percent because of rising software demand.
- Capital One Financial Corp. (COF) slumped 5.6 percent to $46.05. The credit-card issuer seeking approval to purchase ING Groep NV’s U.S. online bank said fourth-quarter profit fell 42 percent as expenses rose.
- Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) sank 4.1 percent to $13.01.Ohio’s largest lender reported fourth-quarter sales of $1.46 billion, missing the average analyst estimate of $1.52 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
- Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB) rose 0.8 percent to $73.42. The world’s largest oilfield-services provider said fourth-quarter profit rose 36 percent as higher crude prices pushed oil companies to boost exploration and production spending around the world.
Hedge Fund News Update
- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, once a Republican himself, renewed his call to end the carried interest practice, which allows hedge fund and private equity managers to pay only the 15% capital-gains rate on their share of their investors’ profits. And the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee said that the loophole should be closed to pay for an extension in the payroll tax cut.
- In a U.S. Securities and Exchange (SEC) filing, hedge fund Jana Partners disclosed it purchased a 5.5-percent stake in the parent company of Speedway LLC. The investment equates to $636 million, or 19.7 million Marathon Petroleum shares.
- Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is buying some of the debt of hedge fund manager Philip Falcone’s LightSquared Inc MOSAV.UL as the ailing wireless-network company runs short of cash, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
- A federal investigation into a pair ofPortland,Ore., hedge funds continued to grow last week with a new round of investor interviews and a new subpoena.
- A criminal complaint filed in Federal District Courtin Manhattannames four defendants, including Anthony R. Chiasson, co-founder of the Level Global Investors hedge fund, who is accused of orchestrating large trades in Dell that netted approximately $57 million in profits. The firm went out of business a few months after an F.B.I. raid at its office in November 2010.