update

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

Post Market Update

 Market Levels

 * US: Dow: 13553.10 (-0.30%), S&P 500: 1461.19 (-0.31%), NASDAQ: 3178.67 (-0.17%)

* Europe: CAC: 3553.69 (-0.78%), DAX: 7403.69 (-0.11%), FTSE: 5893.52 (-0.37%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4402.50 (0.28%), China: 2078.50 (-2.18%), Hong Kong: 20658.11 (0.14%), India: 5610.00 (0.58%), Japan: 9159.39 (0.00%).

* Metals: Gold: 1770.60 (-0.12%), Silver: 34.37 (-0.82%), Copper: 3.79 (-1.06%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 96.62 (-2.40%), Natural Gas: 2.86 (-2.65%)

* Commodities: Corn: 7.48 (-4.35%), Soya Bean: 16.69 (-4.03%), Wheat: 8.78 (-5.00%)

* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3113 (0.15%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6246 (-0.19%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 78.7150 (0.43%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 1.842% (-0.024)

Market and Economy News Update

 U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets finished lower for the first time in five days amid fresh geopolitical worries and a slump in New York-area manufacturing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) declined 40.27 points, or 0.30 percent, to end at 13,553.10. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) erased 4.58 points, or 0.31 percent, to close at 1,461.19, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) slipped 5.28 points, or 0.17 percent, to finish at 3,178.67. Despite ending the day in the red, all three major averages are still up more than 3 percent for the month.

Oil prices plunge: Oil prices sold-off on Monday amid speculation of a potential release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Prices declined more than $3 in less than a minute in late trading, after having spent most of the session mildly higher. Crude oil for October delivery tanked 2.4 percent, to settle at $96.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for October settlement slid 2.8 percent to $113.43 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Stocks in Focus

 * Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) crossed above $700 a share for the first time ever in extended hours trading on Monday after announcing record first-day orders for its new iPhone 5.

* Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) said today that it will unveil its long awaited operating system, Windows 8 at an event on October 25 in New York City.

* Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has acquired Nik Software, makers of the photo editing software Snapseed, for an undisclosed amount.

* Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has reached a four-year deal with the Canadian Auto Workers union that will create about 500 jobs at the it’s assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario.

* Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) has agreed to acquire privately-held social recruiting and management software company, SelectMinds, for an undisclosed sum.

* Solid waste services company Waste Connections, Inc. (NYSE:WCN) closed 11 percent higher after it agreed to buy privately held R360 Environmental Solutions for about $1.3 billion in cash.

* Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) said that its chief financial officer, Thomas Seifert, has resigned. Senior vice president and corporate controller, Devinder Kumar will serve as interim CFO.

* Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) soared 6 percent after JPMorgan analyst Geoff Meacham said the company’s AIDS drug, Stribild, could emerge as a market leader in three to five years.

* Computer hardware manufacturer OCZ Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ:OCZ) said that its board has appointed Alex Mei as interim chief executive, after Ryan Petersen announced his resignation.

* Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) gained 3 percent after ITG Research said third-quarter sales at the fast-food chain were tracking above consensus estimates.

* Industrial conglomerate Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE:TYC) declined 0.6 percent after it said that shareholders have approved a breakup of the company into three parts.

* Threshold Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:THLD) plunged 20 percent after it said new clinical data for its experimental cancer drug, TH-302, failed to show improvement in survival rates among pancreatic cancer patients.

* Private-equity firms, Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE:APO), Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ:CG) and The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX)’s GSO Capital Partners LP now rank among the ten biggest managers of collateralized loan obligation, according to a Bloomberg report.

* Complete Genomics, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNOM) soared 13 percent after agreeing to be acquired by Chinese genomics company BGI-Shenzhen for about $117.6 million, or $3.15 per share, in cash.

Hedge Fund News Update

* A group of LightSquared Inc.’s lenders have sought permission from a bankruptcy judge to go after Phil Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners for a $263.8 million loan the hedge-fund manager made to LightSquared in July 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported.

* Hedge fund managers and merger arbitrage traders are increasingly betting that the proposed merger between EADS NV (EPA:EAD) and BAE Systems plc (LON:BA) to create a European aerospace-defense giant may fail to go through, according to a Reuters report.

* Paul Crone, the former trading head at Touradji Capital Management LP has started a New York-based metals hedge fund, Citrine Capital Management, which will trade listed derivatives in gold, base metals and platinum-group metals.

* Hedge fund managers increased their bullish bets on oil to a four-month high in the seven days ended September 11, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

* New York-based Lasair Capital will close its long/short equity focused hedge funds of funds, and return about $250 million to investors.

* Healthcare hedge fund Palo Alto Investors gained 26.percent during the second quarter, largely on account of a surge in the shares of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ONXX) its largest holding.

Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Monday, September 17, 2012

* Access Midstream Partners LP (NYSE:ACMP) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Citigroup.

* The Cooper Companies, Inc. (NYSE:COO) was lifted to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Zacks with a target price of $113.

* Crane Co. (NYSE:CR) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Citigroup with a target price of $47.

* Evercore Partners Inc. (NYSE:EVR) was raised to “fairly valued” from “over valued” by analysts at Rochdale Securities.

* Greenhill & Co., Inc. (NYSE:GHL) was lifted to “fairly valued” from “over valued” by analysts at Rochdale Securities.

* Gulfport Energy Corporation (NASDAQ:GPOR) was upgraded to “buy” from “accumulate” by analysts at Global Hunter Securities with a target price of $43.

* Moody’s Corporation (NYSE:MCO) was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Benchmark Co. with a target price of $51.

* Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) was lifted to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Exane BNP Paribas.

* Sutor Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:SUTR) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Roth Capital.

* Textainer Group Holdings Limited (NYSE:TGH) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at FBR Capital with a target price of $38.

* The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. (NYSE:THG) was lifted to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at FBR Capital with a target price of $38.

* Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) was upgraded to “overweight” from “underweight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley with a target price of $50.

* Annaly Capital Management, Inc. (NYSE:NLY) was cut to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $17.

* AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS) was lowered to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $7.

* Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Longbow Research.

* Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) was cut to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $36.

* Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus.

* Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) was lowered to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus.

* International Paper Company (NYSE:IP) was cut by analysts at Longbow Research from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating.

* Legg Mason, Inc. (NYSE:LM) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Jefferies Group with a target price of $30.

* Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:MPC) was lowered to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Citigroup with a target price of $55.

* OpenTable Inc (NASDAQ:OPEN) was cut to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $49.

* Reliance Steel & Aluminum (NYSE:RS) was downgraded to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase.

* Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE:SWN) was lowered to “neutral” from “add” by analysts at Capital One.

* Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA) was cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Argus.

* Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus.

* United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) was lowered to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $29.