- US: Dow: 13073.00 (-0.02%), S&P 500: 1385.30 (-0.05%), NASDAQ: 2945.84 (-0.41%)
- Europe: CAC: 3320.71 (1.22%), DAX: 6774.06 (1.25%), FTSE: 5693.63 (1.17%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4245.70 (0.85%), China: 2109.91 (-0.89%), Hong Kong: 19584.40 (1.59%), India: 5199.80 (1.96%), Japan: 8635.44 (0.80%).
- Metals: Gold: 1619.70 (0.11%), Silver: 28.03 (1.95%), Copper: 3.42 (-0.29%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 89.78 (-0.39%), Natural Gas: 3.21 (6.60%)
- Commodities: Corn: 8.14 (2.62%), Soya Bean: 16.43 (2.61%), Wheat: 9.27 (1.76%)
- Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2255 (0.57%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.5709 (0.24%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 78.1650 (-0.38%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.497% (-0.049)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets closed slightly lower after spending most of the session within a narrow range, as investors await news from U.S. and European central banks later this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) shed 2.65 points, or 0.02 percent, to end at 13073.01, dragged lower by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM). The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) lost 0.67 points, or 0.05 percent, to close at 1385.30, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) closed at 2945.84, down 12.25 points, or 0.41 percent.
Oil prices fall: Oil prices declined for the first time in five sessions amid signs of lower OPEC output, and investor concerns that stimulus measures expected from the central banks of U.S. and Europe will be insufficient to bolster economic growth. Crude oil for August delivery declined 0.3 percent, to settle at $89.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for September settlement fell 0.3 percent to $106.20 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
· Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:APC), the country’s second-largest independent oil and natural-gas producer, reported second quarter earnings excluding items of 85 cents per share, topping estimates of 77 cents per share. Revenues for the quarter decreased to $3.22 billion, trailing Street expectations of $3.38 billion.
· Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ:FISV) reported second quarter adjusted earnings of $1.28 per share, 2 cents above the average analysts’ estimate. Revenues for the quarter came in at $1.10 billion, missing estimates of $1.12 billion.
· Plum Creek Timber Co. Inc. (NYSE:PCL) reported a 20 percent decline in second-quarter net profit to $36 million or 22 cents per share, from $44 million or 27 cents per share last year. Total revenues grew to $294 million from $284 million in the same period last year.
· Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) ended 1.7 percent higher amid reports that it will launch its next-generation iPhone and a new iPod nano on September 12th.
· The board of telecom company AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has authorized the repurchase of up to 300 million, or about 5 percent, of its outstanding shares.
· ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) will buy Unilever plc (ADR) (NYSE:UL) (LON:ULVR)’s North American frozen meal business for $265 million in cash. Unilever manufactures frozen brands such as Bertolli and PF Chang’s.
· Struggling supermarket operator Supervalu Inc. (NYSE:SVU) has fired its chief executive, Craig R. Herkert, and named Chairman Wayne C. Sales to succeed him.
· Software maker Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) has agreed to buy privately held network-technology provider, Xsigo Systems, for an undisclosed amount.
· Welding equipment maker Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:LECO) slumped 9 percent after its second-quarter earnings trailed Street expectations.
· Diversified manufacturer TriMas Corp (NASDAQ:TRS) posted second quarter earnings excluding one-time items of 61 cents per share, on revenue of $338.4 million that beat the average analysts’ forecast of earnings excluding items of 55 cents per share on $324.2 million in revenue.
· Diebold Incorporated (NYSE:DBD) reported second quarter earnings excluding items of 49 cents a share that missed consensus estimates of earnings of 58 cents a share. Revenue for the quarter came in at $743.2 million topping estimates of $731.2 million. The company also lowered the top-end of its full-year profit forecast.
· Automobile insurer Mercury General Corporation (NYSE:MCY) reported second quarter net loss of $5.3 million, or 10 cents a share, from a year-ago profit of $57.3 million, or $1.04 a share. Operating income declined to 19 cents a share, missing the average analysts’ estimate of 66 cents per share.
· Home-products maker Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (NYSE:AWI) reported lower than expected second quarter earnings and revenue, and slashed its full-year outlook amid weak demand in Europe and the United States.
· Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SLXP) said the US Food & Drug Administration has rejected wider use of its opioid-induced constipation treatment, Relistor. Salix had bought the rights to Relistor from Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PGNX) in April 2011.
Hedge Fund News Update
- Hedge fund managers raised their net long positions across commodities for the seventh straight week, the longest bullish streak in three years, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.
- Hedge funds missed the rally in the US stock market since the start of June, preferring to stay outside, amid a lack of conviction, according to Credit Suisse.
- Peter Siris, and two of his firms, Guerrilla Capital Management and Hua Mei 21st Century, have agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle allegations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of insider trading, selling of unregistered securities, illegal short selling and misleading investors.
- Private equity assets under management touched the $3 trillion-mark for the first time at the end of last year, data from research firm Preqin showed.
- Sloane Robinson, emerging markets specialist and one of London’s oldest hedge fund managers, saw assets under management more than halve from $7.2 billion to $3 billion in the year to June 30, 2012.
- Fund of hedge funds, SkyBridge Capital, is planning to open a Hong Kong office, with an eye on Asia’s growing hedge fund market.
- The $6.6 billion Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System has committed as much as $70 million to Czech Asset Management’s SJC Onshore Direct Lending Fund II. The public pension fund also committed up to $20 million to Avalon Ventures’ Fund X.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Monday, July 30, 2012
- Aeropostale, Inc. (NYSE:ARO) was raised to “outperform” from “sector perform” by analysts at RBC Capital with a target price of $30.
- Arch Coal Inc (NYSE:ACI) was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Sterne Agee.
- Chico’s FAS, Inc. (NYSE:CHS) was raised to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $22.
- Con Way Inc (NYSE:CNW) was upgraded from “neutral” to “outperform” by analysts at Robert W. Baird with a target price of $43.
- Domtar Corp. (USA) (NYSE:UFS) was raised to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $83.
- Gaylord Entertainment Company (NYSE:GET) was lifted to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co.
- Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) was raised to “overweight” from “equal weight” by analysts at Barclays Capital.
- SAIC, Inc. (NYSE:SAI) was