- US: Dow: 12948.06 (-0.25%), S&P 500: 1369.16 (-0.36%), NASDAQ: 2977.34 (-0.39%)
- Europe: CAC: 3501.17 (0.04%), DAX: 6921.37 (-0.29%), FTSE: 5911.13 (-0.34%).
- Asia-Pacific:Australia: 4273.10 (0.41%),China: 2460.69 (1.40%),Hong Kong: 21562.26 (0.81%),India: 5359.35 (0.37%),Japan: 9777.03 (0.71%)
- Metals: Gold: 1710.50 (-0.68%), Silver: 34.56 (-3.09%), Copper: 3.90 (-0.03%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 106.17 (-2.45%), Natural Gas: 2.48 (0.81%)
- Commodities: Corn: 6.50 (-0.54%), Soya Bean: 13.28 (0.42%), Wheat: 6.66 (0.41%)
- Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3200 (-0.83%), GBP/USD: 1.5851 (-0.66%), USD/JPY: 81.6000 (0.59%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.977% (-0.050)
Market News Update
U.S. markets drift lower: : Wall Street drifted lower on Friday, with the broad S&P 500 slipping from the highest level in nearly four years, as traders kept an eye on jittery crude oil markets. As of 11:00 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 11.8 points, or 0.1%, to 12966, the S&P 500 dipped 2.4 points, or 0.17%, to 1372 and the NASDAQ Composite rose 0.96 point, or 0.02%, to 2990. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2012/03/02/stocks-drift-lower-oil-remains-in-focus/
I.M.F. says U.S.housing market, fiscal policy pose risks: The U.S.economic recovery could be dented by a renewed drop in housing prices in the short term and the country lacks a “credible, comprehensive” fiscal plan, posing a major medium-term economic risk, a top IMF official said.
U.S. Wage Gains Signal Boost to Spending: The biggest six-month increase in U.S. worker pay in almost five years helps lay the ground for a pickup in consumer spending, the largest part of the economy. Wages and salaries in the third and fourth quarters grew a combined $197.3 billion, the most since the six months ended March 2007, according to revised Commerce Department figures.
Crude falls below $108: Oil futures retreated after Saudi Arabia denied reports of a major pipeline explosion, easing fears about an imminent supply disruption. Light, sweet crude for April delivery fell 95 cents, or 0.9%, to $107.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on ICE Futures Europe traded $1.38, or 1.1%, lower at $124.82 a barrel. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203986604577256720551953632.html?mod=WSJ_Markets_LEFTTopStories
Dollar rises: The dollar rose to a nine-month high against the yen before U.S. reports next week forecast to show growth in the world’s biggest economy is gathering pace while deflation persists in Japan. The yen dropped against most of its major counterparts asJapan’s consumer prices decreased, fanning speculation the central bank will expand monetary easing. The dollar gained against most major currencies after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke cast doubt about a third round of asset purchases. The euro declined a third day since the European Central Bank’s bank-loan program as a German report showed retail sales unexpectedly fell.
Company News Update
- Local business review website Yelp Inc. (YELP) pulled a five-star review from investors Friday, as shares from its initial public offering rose more than 60% in early trading. The company’s stock opened at $22.01 a share on the New York Stock Exchange, up 47% from its IPO price of $15, and was changing hands recently at $24.11, up 61%. It sold 7.15 million shares at prices above its expected $12 to $14 range.
- NASDAQ:ZNGA">(ZNGA) shares moved higher after the online game developer announced a new online platform, Zynga.com, which will allow users to play Zynga’s games like FarmVille and Words With Friends on its site and reduce the company’s dependence on Facebook.
- Sara Lee (NYSE:SLE">SLE) added 6 percent to $21.62. Its international coffee company, which includes the Douwe Egberts, Senseo and Moccona brands, filed for a spin-off under the name DE International Holdings NV. After the separation, the coffee company will declare a special $3 dividend.
- Overstock.com’s NASDAQ:OSTK">(OSTK) stock tumbled after the company posted a surprise loss of $3.4 million for the fourth quarter, as sales declined 10%.
- Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ:WYNN">(WYNN) jumped 5.2 percent to $128.39, as the stock resumed trading following an hour-and-a-half halt. The Las Vegas-based operator of its namesake and Encore casinos retracted a regulatory filing that suggested the company had completed a land concession contract on its proposed resort and casino in the Cotai area ofMacau.
- Shares of Shutterfly (SFLY) surged after the company bought Eastman Kodak’s (EK) online photo services business for $23.8 million. Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in January.
- Big Lots Inc. (BIG) slumped 4 percent as sales missed analysts’ estimates.
- Bailed-out insurer American International Group Inc (AIG) sold its entire $500 million stake in private equity firm Blackstone Group LP (BX) on Friday, according to a source familiar with the situation.
- Target (TGT), Wal-Mart (WMT) and a slew of other retailers have reportedly joined the emerging battle over turning smartphones into virtual wallets.
- Union Pacific (UNP) chief executive and president James Young said on Friday he will be taking a medical leave of absence after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Hedge Fund News Update
- The world’s biggest hedge fund manager, Man Group, yesterday saw its shares shoot up by 13 per cent, after the pace at which customers withdrew funds slowed dramatically and it launched a new way of paying dividends.
- Henderson Group said it has shut its Asia-Pacific Equity Multi-Strategy Fund, and a source said Singapore-based Tantallon Capital is winding down its long-only Asia ex-Japan Bass Rock Fund, signaling tough time forAsia’s hedge fund industry.
- Hedge funds took profits in large cap consumer discretionary stocks in the fourth quarter of 2011 and put more money to work in the tech sector, which has been the top performer so far this year. A new report from Credit Suisse (CS) analysts shows that the top 50 hedge funds raised their portfolio exposure to the S&P 500 technology stocks to 27 percent in the fourth quarter from 24 percent a quarter before.
- Warren Buffett, the former hedge fund manager who built Berkshire Hathaway Inc. into a $195 billion company by gaining leverage through insurance premiums, said this traditional source of new funds is drying up. Berkshire’s insurance units, which cover risks from fender benders to asbestos-related hospital bills, can no longer be relied on to provide new investment funds in the form of float, or accumulated premium, Buffett said in a Feb. 25 letter. Float, which rose to $70.6 billion as of Dec. 31 from $65.8 billion a year earlier and $39 million in 1970, is unlikely to “grow much — if at all — from its current level,” Buffett said.
- Hedge-fund manager Edward S. Lampert is in contract to buy a home on an island offFlorida’sBiscayne Bay for nearly $40 million, according to people familiar with the deal. The price would set a record for a single-family home in the county, local brokers say.
- Hedge fund manager Marshall Wace’s Hong Kong-based joint-venture firm GaveKal is launching aChina fixed-interest fund next week. The fund, which launches on March 1, will invest in fixed-income instruments denominated in renminbi that trade offshore in Hong Kong Chinese yuan renminbi, Hong Kong dollar and Singapore dollar.
- New York City’s fire, police and civil employee pensions have allocated $1.35 billion into hedge funds since March of last year. The most recent allocations went to three firms, including Brevan Howard and D.E. Shaw & Co., who received $350 million each.
- New York-based asset manager Optima Fund Management’s founder Dixon Boardman has reassumed his former position of chief investment officer.
- Investors are flocking to Pictet Asset Management’s UCITS III-compliant credit hedge fund, thanks to an unexpectedly “warm response” from the institutional community. Pictet’s Total-Return Kosmos Fund, which debuted in June with €66 million, now manages €330 million. Some €190 million of the new money has poured in since November.
- Nelson Peltz, an investor known for shaking up food-related companies such as Wendy’s (WEN) and Kraft (KFT), has sold nearly a fifth of his H.J. Heinz Co. (HNZ) holdings, cashing out $11.2 million. The hedge fund he founded, Trian Fund Management LP, sold more than 209,000 shares at between $53.10 and $53.57 over the past week. Trian held about 1.07 million Heinz shares as of Dec. 31.