Every afternoon we provide an update on global market levels, economic news, and hedge fund news.
Post Market Update
- US: Dow: 12442.50 (-1.24%), S&P 500: 1304.86 (-1.51%), NASDAQ: 2813.69 (-2.10%)
- Europe: CAC: 3011.99 (-1.22%), DAX: 6308.96 (-1.19%), FTSE: 5338.38 (-1.25%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4157.40 (-0.19%), China: 2378.89 (1.37%), Hong Kong: 19200.93 (-0.31%), India: 4870.20 (0.25%), Japan: 8876.59 (0.85%).
- Metals: Gold: 1574.90 (2.49%), Silver: 28.02 (3.03%), Copper: 3.48 (0.03%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 92.60 (-0.23%), Natural Gas: 2.59 (-0.92%)
- Commodities: Corn: 6.25 (0.81%), Soya Bean: 13.06 (0.33%), Wheat: 6.57 (2.97%)
- Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2697 (0.16%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.5799 (0.71%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 79.2950 (-1.28%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.697% (-0.063)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets closed lower on Thursday, extending their losses in the final hour of trading, on disappointing economic data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) tumbled 1.24 percent, to close at 12,442.49. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) slipped to a four-month low, down 1.51 percent to end at 1,304.86, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) plunged 2.10 percent to finish at 2,813.69.
Oil prices fall to six month low: Oil prices tumbled to the lowest level in six months, on rising investor concerns that as the turmoil in Greece deepens, the European debt crisis will spread, and the U.S. economy will slow. Crude oil for June delivery fell 0.23 percent, to settle at $92.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for July settlement slipped 2.1 percent to $107.49 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Company News Update
- In the biggest initial public offering by a technology company in history, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), sold 421.2 million shares at $38 each, a move that values the California-based company at more than $100 billion.
- The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS), the third biggest clothes retailer in the world, reported first quarter net income of $233 million, or 47 cents a share, a penny above analysts’ estimates. Revenue increased 6 percent to $3.49 billion, also beating the analysts’ average forecast for $3.46 billion.
- Apparel retailer Aeropostale, Inc. (NYSE:ARO) said first quarter net income dropped to $10.6 million or 13 cents a share from $16.4 million or 20 cents a share in the same quarter last year, but sales rose 6 percent to $497.2 million from $469.2 million last year.
- Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) the world’s largest semiconductor fabrication equipment supplier, reported fiscal second quarter earnings per share and revenue that topped analysts’ estimates, and offered a full year outlook in line with street expectations.
- Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) posted slowing sales in April, with the biggest deceleration coming from the Asia-Pacific region. Global sales of construction and mining machinery increased 12 percent in the three months ending April, down from the the 18 percent increase in the three months ending March.
- Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) is planning to cut as many as 25,000 jobs, or 8 percent of its workforce, as newly installed Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman tries to return the world’s largest maker of personal computers and printers to growth.
- Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) has agreed to buy the majority of Media General Inc’s papers for $142 million in cash, in addition to providing the firm with a $400 million loan and a $45 million revolving credit line.
- Casino operator Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD) has agreed to acquire Peninsula Gaming, LLC for $1.45 billion, giving it a stronger foothold in the Midwest and South.
Hedge Fund News Update
- Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors LP and Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global Investors LP were among hedge funds that sold a net 6.1 million shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) last quarter, while David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital kept all its Apple shares last quarter, according to data aggregated by Bloomberg from regulatory filings.
- · Billionaire fund manager John Paulson’s Paulson & Co. Inc. has retained its stake in the SPDR Gold Trust (ETF) (NYSEARCA:GLD) during the first-quarter and remains the largest holder of the ETF till date, while George Soros’ Soros Fund Management LLC’s more than tripled its investment in the biggest exchange-traded product backed by gold, to 319,550 shares in the first quarter, up from 85,450 shares at the end of the fourth quarter.
- Activist investor Bill Ackman has won a decisive victory in his proxy battle at Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (USA) (NYSE:CP) after the company’s chief executive Fred Green resigned, and five directors including chairman John Cleghorn announced that they would not stand for re-election.
- Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS)’s largest internal hedge fund, the Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, run by former proprietary trading chief Ranaan Agus, is set to sell about 1.57 million shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), reducing their stake in the social networking site by almost half.
- Edward Lampert’s RBS Partners LP reduced its stake in New York-based commercial lender CIT Group Inc. (NYSE:CIT), and Virginia-based diversified financial services company Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE:COF), during the first quarter. Daniel Loeb’s Third Point however increased it stake in Capital One Financial.
- The $73.3 billion Ohio Public Employees Retirement Systems has decided to allocate $120 million to Comac Capital’s Global Macro Fund.
- Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating hedge fund firm Magnetar Capital LLC over its role in various collateralized debt obligations that big banks sold as bonds before the financial crisis.
- ·Hedge fund consulting and third party marketing firm, Agecroft Partners has appointed hedge fund veteran Cara Fleckenstein as its Managing Director.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Thursday, May 17, 2012
- AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAG) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at Ladenburg Thalmann with a target price of $15.
- Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (USA) (NYSE:CP) was raised to “overweight” from “equal weight” at Barclays with a target price of $93.
- Chesapeake Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE:CHKM) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $30.
- Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Standpoint Research.
- G&K Services Inc (NASDAQ:GKSR) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at KeyBanc Capital Mkts with a target price of $37.
- Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (NYSE:HP) was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Argus with a target price of $55.
- Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ:CTAS) was cut to “hold” from “buy” at KeyBanc Capital Mkts.
- Cost Plus, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPWM) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at KeyBanc Capital Mkts.
- Riverbed Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RVBD) was cut to “neutral” from “buy” at MKM Partners with a target price of $16.5.