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

 Post Market Update

 Market Levels

 * US: Dow: 12651.90 (1.24%), S&P 500: 1329.10 (1.08%), NASDAQ: 2836.33 (0.63%)

* Europe: CAC: 3032.45 (0.08%), DAX: 6138.61 (-0.23%), FTSE: 5467.05 (-0.31%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4042.20 (-0.53%), China: 2295.95 (-1.00%), Hong Kong: 18808.40 (-1.16%), India: 5054.75 (-1.30%), Japan: 8568.89 (-0.22%).

* Metals: Gold: 1619.60 (0.01%), Silver: 28.41 (-1.85%), Copper: 3.35 (0.45%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 83.91 (1.56%), Natural Gas: 2.50 (14.19%)

* Commodities: Corn: 5.16 (1.08%), Soya Bean: 13.08 (-0.83%), Wheat: 6.66 (1.06%)

* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2636 (-0.52%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.5562 (-0.34%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 79.3350 (-0.13%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 1.642% (0.049)

 

Market and Economy News Update

U.S. markets end higher: U.S. markets gained on Thursday amid reports that policy makers may take collective action to assist countries affected by the European debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) rallied 1.24 percent, to close at 12,651.91. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) jumped 1.08 percent to end at 1,329.10, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 0.63 percent to finish at 2,836.33.

Oil prices rise: Oil prices jumped on Thursday after OPEC members decided to keep the current ceiling unchanged at 30 million barrels per day. Crude oil for July delivery soared 1.6 percent, to settle at $83.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for July settlement dropped 10 cent to $97.03 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

 

 Company News Update

* Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ:STX) has acquired a controlling stake in Paris-based consumer data storage device maker LaCie for around $186 million.

* Casino game machine maker International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT) announced a new share buy back program of up to $1 billion, including a $400 million common stock repurchase effort with Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS).

* Sunoco, Inc. (NYSE:SUN) is close to selling its 330,000-barrels-per-day Philadelphia refinery to global asset manager Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ:CG), CNBC reported.

* U.S. Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE:LCC) said that its plan to merge with American Airlines should help save $1.2 billion in costs, as well as position the combined entity to compete better with rivals such as Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) and United Airlines.

* IT management solutions provider Quest Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:QSFT) said an undisclosed bidder has proposed to buy the company for about $2.15 billion in cash, topping an earlier offer of nearly $2 billion from Insight Venture Partners.

* Argentina’s largest oil-and-gas producer YPF SA  (NYSE:YPF) has disclosed that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has acquired an 8.4 percent stake of outstanding American depositary shares, Bloomberg reported.

* New Jersey-based information technology services provider Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp (NASDAQ:CTSH) has inked a $330 million agreement with the U.S. unit of Dutch insurer ING Groep N.V. (ADR) (NYSE:ING) to offer a diverse array of services related to the insurance business.

* Winnebago Industries, Inc. (NYSE:WGO)’s said that fiscal third-quarter net income more than tripled to $3.9 million because of increased prices on its RV products.

* Molybdenum miner General Moly, Inc. (NYSEAMEX:GMO) has received a favorable ruling from a Nevada State District Court on water rights for its Mt. Hope project.

* Packaging firm Spartech Corporation (NYSE:SEH) posted a 40 percent jump in fiscal second-quarter profit to $3.7 million, from $2.6 million during the same quarter last year. Net sales increased 6 percent to $298.3 million from $282.6 million last year.

* Chip maker Lattice Semiconductor (NASDAQ:LSCC) cut its second-quarter revenue forecast amid weak European sales.

* Medical Action Industries (NASDAQ:MDCI),the maker of disposable surgical supplies, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $2.5 million, or 15 cents a share, compared to a net income of $1.1 million or 7 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

 

Hedge Fund News Update

* Paul Sinclair’s healthcare hedge fund Expo Capital Management will liquidate and return the $458 million managed by his Los Angeles-based fund, five years after it was launched, Bloomberg reported.

* Activist hedge fund Starboard Value was dealt a setback after AOL Inc shareholders re-elected the company’s eight board members, Starboard, which own owns 5.3 percent of AOL’s shares was seeking five seats on the board of directors.

* Yang Yeo and Janice Dunnett, former Citigroup portfolio manager, will launch an Asia-focused hedge fund in the third quarter of 2012. The Naga Capital Master Fund will aim for annual returns of 15 percent through investments in credit, stocks and convertible bonds.

* London-based hedge fund International Standard Asset Management, launched by former Man Group Chief Executive Stanley Fink, has seen its assets double to $1 billion in the past one year, despite turbulent market conditions.

* Lawrence Whalley, former president and chief operating officer of Enron Corp., will launch a new hedge fund called Copperwood.

* Former Winton Capital Management executives Bruce MacDonald and Dr. Patrick McSharry, who started the UK-based investment advisor Capitis Capital, have launched their flagship fund, the Rudolf Wolff Global Portfolio, which employs a quantitative strategy and invests in securities listed in Europe, the US and Japan.

* London-based global emerging markets specialist North of South Capital, founded by Matt Linsey, has roped in Mark Watson as marketing director.

 

Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Thursday, June 14, 2012

 * Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (NYSE:ATI) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $50.

* Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE:EAT) was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Argus with a target price of $37.

* Casey’s General Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:CASY) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Feltl & Co. with a target price of $61.

* Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” at Cleveland Research.

* Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) was upgraded to “overweight” from “market perform” at Albert Fried & Company.

* Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z) was raised to “outperform” from “sector perform” at Pacific Crest.

* Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) was cut to “neutral” from “buy” at Lazard Capital.

* Human Genome Sciences (NASDAQ: HGSI) was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” at JMP Securities.

* Kennametal Inc. (NYSE:KMT) was cut to “market perform” from “outperform” at Barrington Research.

* Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) was downgraded to “underperform” from “neutral” at Robert W. Baird with a target price of $2.

* Pengrowth Energy Corp (USA) (NYSE:PGH) was cut to “market perform” from “outperform” at BMO Capital Markets.

* Virgin Media Inc. (NASDAQ:VMED) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at Goldman Sachs.