market updateEvery morning the Street of Walls team puts out an update on market levels, today’s top stories, and active M&A deals.

Today’s Top Stories:

  • 4Q Earnings Season: the WS discusses how the Q4 earnings season has been a disappointing one, a potential threat to the market rally http://on.wsj.com/xO1hfi
  • Viking Adds TRIP: As of January 23, Viking Global disclosed a 6.0% ownership in the total outstanding common shares of Trip Advisor, Inc. (Nasdaq:TRIP) http://bit.ly/zU4ZgK
  • Alpha Coming Back: “In January, about 70 percent of active managers outperformed the S&P 500, compared with just 23 percent in 2011” (Reuters)
  • Marathon Asset Files 13F: Marathon Asset Management has disclosed its 13F filing for the period ended December 31, 2011. They have closed out of the following positions: Banco Macro SA, Doral Financial Corp., and JPMorgan Chase. New positions include Hess Corp., Mastercard, Suncor Energy and Talisman Energy http://bit.ly/yFXkwD
  • Housing Coming Back: investors are starting to resuscitate large development projects that had been abandoned for the last several yearhttp://on.wsj.com/yqoHIJ
  • Sky Diver From Edge of Space: A skydiver is set to become the first person to break the sound barrier during a free fall by leaping from a balloon on the edge of space later this year http://tgr.ph/zzOzLf
  • New Credit Agricole Group: the FT discusses how the company plans on launching a new financing model in its corporate and investment bank that will permit Agricole to continue project and trade finance (FT)
  • Iran Strike: Obama said it would be risky to strike Iran but reiterated his intention to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapon (Reuters)
  • GS Employment Thoughts: “Friday’s employment report was very good news. Although January is always messy because of the annual revisions, there is no question that job growth has picked up meaningfully. The average pace of nonfarm payroll gains over the past three months now stands at 201k according to the establishment survey and 345k according to the household survey (adjusted to the definitions of the establishment survey and smoothing out the break in the series associated with January’s changes in the “population controls”). This means that the drop in the unemployment rate to 8.3% was genuinely good news, not an artifact of the drop in the labor force participation rate” (GS)
  • BAC Looking to Sell Offices: Bank of America Corp., the second- largest U.S. lender by assets, may sell all its offices as part of the company’s effort to cut costs, sparing only its headquarters in North Carolina and New York City http://bloom.bg/xYvI8Q
  • European Banks: “Seen unprecedented moves out of the ECB taking the tail risk of banks money off the table, bringing down the risk premium for stocks.  Capital: Noise on the stress test in Europe today, sector has already met 60% of the requirement.  We think regulators could pull back.  Sovereign: Supported by ECB action” (citi)

M&A Watch:

  • Weekly M&A Trends: This is a hot week for IPOs, 7 are expected to price in the U.S. and 11 globally. Announced M&A keeping showing negative headlines, declining 16% in the week to $25.8bnhttp://bit.ly/yyTz0i
Disclosure: I do not have a position in any stocks mentioned in this article, do not have a plan to initiate a position within the next 72 hours.
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