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: 12573.30 (-0.25%), S&P 500: 1334.76 (-0.50%), NASDAQ: 2866.19 (-0.75%)

* Europe: CAC: 3135.18 (-0.70%), DAX: 6419.35 (-0.54%), FTSE: 5608.25 (-1.00%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4068.00 (-0.70%), China: 2185.49 (0.46%), Hong Kong: 19025.11 (-2.07%), India: 5235.25 (-1.34%), Japan: 8720.01 (-1.50%).

* Metals: Gold: 1565.30 (-0.66%), Silver: 27.16 (0.51%), Copper: 3.42 (-0.94%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 86.08 (0.31%), Natural Gas: 2.87 (0.74%)

* Commodities: Corn: 7.32 (4.01%), Soya Bean: 15.29 (0.43%), Wheat: 8.59 (2.56%)

* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2198 (0.33%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.5425 (0.52%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 79.2650 (-0.58%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 1.474% (-0.042)

Market and Economy News Update

 U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets managed to rebound from earlier lows, but still closed lower on Thursday, amid concerns about corporate earnings, and the turbulent global economic situation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) fell 31.26 points, or 0.25 percent, to 12573.27. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) dropped 6.69 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1334.76, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) shed 21.79 points, or 0.75 percent, to 2866.19.

Oil prices rise: Oil prices rallied in late trading after the United States proposed new sanctions on Iran, and the North Sea production situation worsened. Crude oil for August delivery increased 0.3 percent, to settle at $86.08 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for August settlement climbed 0.8 percent to $101.07 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Stocks in Focus

* The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) ended 3.8 percent higher after hedge fund manager William Ackman’s Pershing Square acquires a new position in the company.

* Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) announced that around 400,000 logins and passwords were stolen yesterday. Separately, the company did not name a new permanent chief executive at its shareholders meeting.

* Home lender, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) has agreed to pay $125 million and set up a $50 million assistance fund to settle federal allegations that its independent brokers discriminated against minority borrowers.

* Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) initiated coverage on the U.S. airline sector, and issued a “sell” recommendation on the country’s two biggest carriers, United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) and Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL).

* United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) announced it will buy 100 737 MAX 9 planes and fifty 737-900ER planes from The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), for $14.7 billion.

* Auto and home insurer The Progressive Corporation (NYSE:PGR) said fiscal second-quarter profit tumbled 52 percent in the absence of large investment gains that boosted last year’s results.

* Industrial and construction supplies provider Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST) posted a 19 percent increase in second quarter profit on steady demand from manufacturers, but its revenue trailed analysts’ estimates.

* Online coupon company Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) hit life-time lows in trade today, amid investor concerns over its profitability.

* Heavy construction materials supplier, Texas Industries, Inc. (NYSE:TXI)surged 14 percent after reporting a better than expected fourth quarter profit of  $2.15 a share, compared to a loss of 33 cent a share, in the same quarter last year.

* The board of phone and data network equipment maker, Acme Packet, Inc. (NASDAQ:APKT) has authorized the repurchase of up to $200 million of its common stock.

Hedge Fund News Update

* Leading fund management houses, that include Allianz, BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK), Fidelity and Schroders, have warned that new rules proposed by the European Union to regulate hedge funds threaten to adversely affect ordinary investors, who could face a sharp increase in costs.

* Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) has said that attempts by Paul Singer’s Elliott Management to lay their hands on over $3 billion reserves at the brokerage unit of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., violates the law governing broker liquidations.

* Peter Kolchinsky’s RACapital Management has raised its stake in Coronado Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:CNDO), Ventrus Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:VTUS) and Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ANAC), according to 13G filings.

* Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Management yesterday divulged plans to buy an Australian blank-check company, and list it on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

* London-based investment manager, Polar Capital, has drawn in close to $374 million of net new money into its funds in the second quarter of the year, on the back of solid performance.

* New York-based hedge fund Hutchin Hill Capital has launched a credit hedge fund, the Hutchin Hill Liquid Credit Strategy, and has managed to secure has $100 million in anchor investment from a U.K. pension system.

* Aria Partners has urged the board of women’s clothing retailer, Christopher & Banks Corporation (NYSE:CBK), to reconsider its offer of $1.75 a share. Aria owns a 4 percent stake in Christopher & Banks Corporation (NYSE:CBK).

Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Thursday, July 12, 2012

* AMC Networks Inc (NASDAQ:AMCX) was upgraded to “overweight” from “equal weight” at Barclays Capital with a target price of $48.

* Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) was raised to “neutral” from “underweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a price target of $120.

* Hersha Hospitality Trust (NYSE:HT) was lifted to “market outperform” from “market perform” at JMP Securities.

* Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Citigroup.

* ONEOK, Inc. (NYSE:OKE) was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at BMO Capital Markets.

* SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) was lifted to “overweight” from “neutral” at Piper Jaffray.

* Tesoro Corporation (NYSE:TSO) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Howard Weil.

* Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE:ADM) was cut to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley.

* ADTRAN, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Capstone with a target price of $26. ADTRAN, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN) was also slashed to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus.

* AMERIGROUP Corporation (NYSE:AGP) was lowered to “neutral” from “overweight” at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $70.

* American States Water Co (NYSE:AWR) was cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Brean Murray.

* DragonWave, Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:DRWI) was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” at Raymond James.

* Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO) was lowered to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $71.

* Georgia Gulf Corporation (NYSE:GGC) was cut to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase.

* Perrigo Company (NASDAQ:PRGO) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Canaccord Genuity with a target price of $125.

* Trina Solar Limited (ADR) (NYSE:TSL) was lowered to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $6.60.

* Yingli Green Energy Hold. Co. Ltd. (NYSE:YGE) was cut to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $4.