Every afternoon we provides an update on global market levels, economic news, and hedge fund news.

Market Levels

 * US: Dow: 13204.60 (0.87%), S&P 500: 1399.98 (0.67%), NASDAQ: 3050.61 (0.69%)

* Europe: CAC: 3229.32 (-0.13%), DAX: 6739.90 (0.53%), FTSE: 5748.72 (0.52%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4375.20 (0.34%), China: 2404.70 (-0.09%), Hong Kong: 20809.71 (0.79%), India: 5189.00 (-0.25%), Japan: 9561.83 (0.01%).

* Metals: Gold: 1660.50 (1.11%), Silver: 31.21 (2.80%), Copper: 3.77 (1.81%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 104.55 (0.41%), Natural Gas: 2.13 (-2.03%)

* Commodities: Corn: 6.07 (1.08%), Soya Bean: 13.58 (-0.86%), Wheat: 6.35 (1.44%)

* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3214 (-0.03%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6174 (-0.07%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 81.0400 (0.06%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 1.938% (-0.046)

 Market and Economy News Update

 U.S. markets end higher: Markets ended higher on Thursday as better than estimated housing data overshadowed disappointing job market data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average(INDEXDJX:.DJI) ended the day 0.9 percent higher at 13,204., led by Wal-Mart, that rebounded after falling 8 percent so far this week. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) touched 1400 in intraday trading for the first time in nearly three weeks, and ended the day 0.7 percent higher at 1399.98, . The NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 0.7 percent to 3050.61.

Oil rises: Oil prices rose to a three-week high after a positive housing data added to optimism about the U.S. economy. Crude oil for May delivery gained 0.4 percent to $104.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for June settlement increased 0.7 percent to end the session at $119.92 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Company News Update

 * Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) said first quarter net income fell to $130 million, or 28 cents a share, that was much better than the 7 cents per share that analysts had forecasts. Revenue increased 34 percent to $13.18 billion, ahead of Wall Street estimates.

* Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) said second-quarter net income rose 18 percent to $309.9 million, or 40 cents a share, topping analysts’ estimate of 39 cents a share. But same store sales at the world’s largest coffee-shop chain trailed analysts’ estimates.

* Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) reported first quarter adjusted earnings of 6 cents per share that beat Wall Street’s expectations. Revenue increased 32 percent to $321 million, which was also better than the average estimate of $315.9 million.

* Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET), the third-largest U.S. health insurer, reported first- quarter earnings excluding some items of $1.34 a share, which was lower than the average analyst estimate of $1.40 a share.

* Logitech International SA (USA) (NASDAQ:LOGI), the world’s biggest maker of computer mice, reported fiscal fourth quarter net income of $28.3 million, or 17 cents per share, that was much better than the 9 cents per share which analysts were expecting.

* Business software maker Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS) reported better than expected first-quarter earnings of 59 cents a share, excluding items, and raised its fiscal 2012 guidance.

* MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) said first quarter net income fell 68 percent to $21 million, or 6 cents per share, much lower than the street estimate of17 cents per share.

* Netgear, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTGR), the maker of modems and routers, posted a 17 percent jump in first-quarter sales to $325.6 million, beating the average analyst estimate of $318.6 million.

* Cirrus Logic, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRUS), the supplier of parts for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings of 36 cents a share, beating the average analysts’ estimate of 34 cent per share.

* Online recruiting service company Monster Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:MWW) reported first-quarter profit, excluding some items, of 4 cents a share that was better than the average analysts’ estimate of 2 cents per share.

* Biopharmaceutical company Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) posted first-quarter earnings excluding items of $1.08 a share, missing the average analyst estimate of $1.13 a share.

Hedge Fund News Update

* George Soros, founder of the Quantum Fund, bought 6 million shares of mobile software maker Openwave Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:OPWV) at approximately $2.41 per share. http://www.valuewalk.com/2012/04/gamco-soros-and-fairfax-recent-portfolio-changes/

* Reuters has reported that hedge fund managers are slowly buying into Spanish credit default swaps, bonds and stocks after market fears over the country’s deepening debt crisis made some assets too cheap relative to other assets. Spain’s stocks are down 17.1 percent this year, while the 10-year government bond yield has risen to more than 6 percent this week.

* The Dow Jones Credit Suisse Hedge Fund Index finished 0.05 percent higher in March, with the industry witnessing outflows of approximately $1.33 billion in March. Another measure of hedge fund performance, the Morningstar MSCI Composite Hedge Fund Index, an asset-weighted composite of nearly 1,000 hedge funds, recorded a gain of 0.1 percent in March, finishing the first quarter 3.3 percent higher.

* Speaking at a New York investment forum, Jim Chanos, president and founder of Kynikos Associates said he was bearish about the prospects of Australian iron ore producer, Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG).

* California’s Kern County Employees’ Retirement Association, the $2.8 billion pension fund, is looking at hiring Albourne Partners as its first-ever hedge fund consultant.

* Japan’s Pension Fund Association, which currently manages JPY10 trillion (USD 120 billion), has chosen New York-based MSCI’s RiskMetrics HedgePlatform as their hedge fund transparency provider.

* Gibraltar-based Taler Asset Management and its subsidiary, alternative trading advisor Systema Capital Limited, have launched the Systema Trend Fund Limited, a multi-strategy/systemic trend hedge fund.