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

Post Market Update

Market Levels

 * US: Dow: 13008.50 (-0.23%), S&P 500: 1369.58 (0.04%), NASDAQ: 2957.76 (0.05%)

* Europe: CAC: 3214.22 (1.63%), DAX: 6569.48 (0.12%) FTSE: 5655.06 (-1.93%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4301.30 (-2.15%), China: 2451.95 (-0.00%), Hong Kong: 20536.65 (-2.67%), India: 5114.15 (0.54%), Japan: 9119.14 (-2.86%).

* Metals: Gold: 1639.10 (-0.37%), Silver: 30.12 (-1.02%), Copper: 3.77 (1.41%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 97.94 (-0.56%), Natural Gas: 2.34 (2.50%)

* Commodities: Corn: 6.20 (-0.04%), Soya Bean: 13.53 (-0.97%), Wheat: 6.12 (0.41%)

* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3051 (0.25%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6189 (-0.23%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 79.9050 (0.09%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 1.870% (-0.007)


Market and Economy News Update

 U.S. markets end mixed: Markets ended mixed on Monday after recovering from their session lows amid concerns that elections in France and Greece could hamper the euro zone’s efforts to handle its sovereign debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) posted its fourth-consecutive decline, down 0.23 percent, to close at 13,008.53. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) increased 0.04 percent, to end at 1,369.58., while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 0.05 percent, to finish at 2,957.76.

 Oil prices fall: Oil prices fell to a three month low after European election results revived investor concerns about the euro zone debt crisis. Crude oil for June delivery fell 0.6 percent to $97.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for June settlement declined 2 cents to settle at $113.16 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.


Company News Update

* A federal jury found that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) infringed on Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL)’s copyrights in developing Android software running on more than 300 million mobile devices. The jury however failed to come to a unanimous verdict on whether Google had the right to fair use of that copyrighted structure.

* Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle federal and state claims resulting from an investigation into its anti-seizure drug Depakote.

* Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s board has approved a 7.1 percent increase in its quarterly dividend from 21 cents a share to 22.5 cents per share.

* Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason unveiled the company’s ambitious plan to expand from its daily-deal offers into other types of local services, in an effort to build a broad local-commerce platform.

* Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN) reported first quarter profit excluding items of $1.33 a share that missed the average analysts’ estimate of $1.41 a share.

* Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), the second- largest U.S. video-game publisher, reported fourth quarter earnings that beat analysts’ expectations, but the company’s full year revenue outlook fell short of street estimates.

* Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp (NASDAQ:CTSH), the provider of consulting and outsourcing services, reported a 17 percent rise in first quarter profit, but cut its full-year sales and earnings forecasts.

* Car rental company Avis Budget Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CAR) reported first quarter adjusted profit of 12 cents per share that topped analysts’ estimates. Revenue rose 31 percent to $1.6 billion from $1.24 billion in the prior year.

* Drug maker Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) said trials of a two-drug combination for cystic fibrosis improved some patients’ ability to breathe in a mid- stage study. * Clothing retailer The Talbots, Inc. (NYSE:TLB) received a raised takeover bid of $215 million, or $3.05 a share, from Sycamore Partners, a private-equity firm. The struggling women’s clothing retailer had earlier rejected the original offer of $3 a share.

* GTSI Corp. (NASDAQ:GTSI), a provider of information technology services for government agencies, has agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of California-based IT company Unicom Systems in a deal valued at about $76.7 million.


 Hedge Fund News Update

* Billionaire hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen has acquired a 5 percent stake in Birmingham-based Walter Energy Inc (TSE:WLT), which operates coal mines in Alabama and western Canada.

* Activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP is withdrawing its slate of nominees for election to the board of directors of business software maker, Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ:PRGS), thereby calling off its pending proxy contest at the Bedford, Massachusetts-based company.

* According to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data, hedge fund managers increased their net-long positions across 18 U.S. futures and options by 6.9 percent to 895,240 contracts in the week ended May 1, just before the biggest three-day slump since October last year.

* New York-based hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co. will launch the Alkali Fund in June, which will invest in residential mortgage-backed securities, troubled loans and consumer asset-backed debt. The fund will be managed primarily by D.E. Shaw’s asset-backed securities team.

* Activist hedge fund Third Point LLC, which has a stake of around 6 percent in Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), has demanded that the company release records related to the hiring of its chief executive, Scott Thompson, whose academic credentials were incorrectly disclosed last week.

* A new study authored by Sauder School of Business finance professor Kai Li, along with professors from Columbia and Queens University, found that hedge funds have had a beneficial influence on U.S. companies filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

* Denver-based investment firm Janus Capital Group Inc. has appointed Andrew B. Weisman as Senior Vice President, while Soonyong Park, former head of global portfolio solutions at Segal Rogerscasey, joins Janus as an institutional client strategist.

* RiverPark Advisors has launched the RiverPark/Gargoyle Hedged Value Fund, which will be based on value oriented stock investing and index option over-writing techniques. Alan Salzbank and Joshua Parker will serve as co-portfolio managers of the fund.


Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Monday, May 07, 2012

 * First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) was raised to “positive” from “neutral” at Avian.

* Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (NYSE:GWR) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Dahlman Rose with a target price of $67.

* Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ:HWAY) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” at Dougherty & Company with a target price of $12.

* McDermott International (NYSE:MDR) was upgraded to “market outperform” from “market perform” at Howard Weil with a target price of $16.

* Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE:NWL) was raised to “outperform” from “perform” at Oppenheimer with a target price of $23.

 * Alliant Energy Corporation (NYSE:LNT) was cut from “hold” from “buy” at Wunderlich with a target price of $45.

* Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp (NASDAQ:CTSH) was downgraded to “buy” from “strong buy” at Needham with a target price of $80.

* First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) was downgraded from to “hold” from “buy” at Wunderlich.