* US: Dow: 12715.93 (-1.65%), S&P 500: 1358.59 (-1.71%), NASDAQ: 2991.92 (-1.83%)
* Europe: CAC: 3217.60 (-3.18%), DAX: 6606.43 (-2.56%), FTSE: 5595.55 (-2.29%).
* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4292.30 (-0.64%), China: 2305.86 (0.87%), Hong Kong: 20356.24 (-1.16%), India: 5243.60 (0.18%), Japan: 9538.02 (-0.09%).
* Metals: Gold: 1660.70 (1.02%), Silver: 31.68 (0.49%), Copper: 3.65 (-1.88%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 101.02 (-1.41%), Natural Gas: 2.03 (-3.61%)
* Commodities: Corn: 6.34 (-2.20%), Soya Bean: 14.26 (-0.35%), Wheat: 6.25 (-2.68%)
* Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3084 (-0.17%), GBP/USD: 1.5871 (-0.13%), USD/JPY: 80.6600 (-1.02%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 1.982% (-0.065)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets close deep in the red: Markets declined for the fifth-straight session, as a surge in borrowing costs in Spain and Italy fueled concerns about Europe's fiscal health. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI), the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) and the NASDAQ (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) closed more than 1.5 percent lower.
Oil drops to eight-week low: Oil fell to for the second day and barely managed to hold above $101 as a weaker than expected Chinese import data added to rising concerns about its demand. Crude-oil futures for May delivery fell 1.4 percent to $101.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for May settlement dropped 2.3 percent on the London- based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
U.S. 10-year yields fall below 2%: U.S. Treasury prices rose for the fifth session on Tuesday, with the ten- year yields sliding below 2 percent for the first time in a month, as yields on Spain’s 10-year bonds reached their highest level since December and Italian yields surged 23 basis points. The government attracted the highest proportion of indirect bidders, a group which includes foreign central banks, at its three-year note sale since August last year.
Company News Update
* Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA), the largest U.S. aluminum producer, reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street's expectations. The New York-based company posted first-quarter earnings excluding items of 10 cents per share, much better than the average analysts’ estimate of 4 cents.
* World’s largest electronics retailer, Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY), slumped to its lowest intraday price since December 2008, and closed 5.9 percent lower after announcing that Chief Executive Officer Brian Dunn would resign and board member G. Mike Mikan would take up his position on an interim basis.
* Grocery retailer, Supervalu Inc. (NYSE:SVU), bucked the broad market trend and soared 15.2 percent after reporting earnings that beat street expectations and offered strong forecast for fiscal 2013 earnings.
* Safeway Inc. (NYSE:SWY) gained 1.3 percent after the company named Chief Financial Officer Robert Edwards as its new president, succeeding Steve Burd, who remains chairman and chief executive officer.
* Online photo services provider, Shutterfly, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFLY), fell 4.9 percent after Facebook announced yesterday that it is buying Instagram's photo-sharing application for $1 billion in cash and stock.
* Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO) declined 12.5 percent after the San Diego-based biopharmaceutical was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Jefferies Group Inc.
* Akorn, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKRX) gave up early morning gains and closed in the red after the pharmaceutical company said it launched a generic version of biopharmaceutical company, ViroPharma Inc’s (NASDAQ:VPHM) Vancocin antibiotic. VioPharma plunged 21.6 percent.
* Harmonic Inc. (NASDAQ:HLIT), the provider of video-delivery systems, declined 4.2 percent after recording first-quarter earnings of 3 cents a share, which were well below the average analyst estimate of 9 cents.
Hedge Fund News Update
* According to data released by Hedge Fund Research Inc., hedge funds witnessed their strongest start since 2006, with the average fund recording gains of 4.94 percent in the first quarter.
* BarclayHedge and TrimTabs Investment Research reported that hedge funds garnered an estimated $6.8 billion in February, in contrast to the outflows of $21.5 billion seen during the previous two months.
* Starboard Value LP, the hedge fund that owns 5.2 percent of AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL), said that though it is pleased with the patent sale on Monday that fetched more than $1 billion, it still plans on following through with a proxy fight to put five directors on the company’s board.
* China-domiciled hedge fund, Credence Oriental Trade Enterprise Ltd, will increase Chinese stock holdings in its portfolio to 70 percent from the present 50 percent. Co-manager of the fund, Tom Tang, said the move to increase quotas for qualified foreign institutional investors will lead to greater trading in blue-chip stocks and improve valuations.
* 1,113 hedge fund were launched in 2011, the highest annual total since 2007, increasing the total number of funds to 9,523 last year.
* Curtis Arledge, vice chairman of BNY Mellon and CEO of BNY Mellon Investment Management, and, Vince Sands, deputy chief executive officer of BNY Mellon Asset Servicing, have joined the board of HedgeMark International.
* Principal Global Investors, the asset management arm of insurance giant Principal Financial Group is trying to buy control of a fund of hedge funds firm to diversify its $240 billion business.