- US: Dow: 13593.40 (0.40%), S&P 500: 1465.77 (0.40%), NASDAQ: 3183.95 (0.89%)
- Europe: CAC: 3581.58 (2.22%), DAX: 7412.13 (1.37%), FTSE: 5915.55 (1.62%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4390.00 (1.17%), China: 2123.85 (0.63%), Hong Kong: 20629.78 (2.82%), India: 5577.65 (2.62%), Japan: 9159.39 (1.79%).
- Metals: Gold: 1772.70 (0.03%), Silver: 34.66 (-0.35%), Copper: 3.83 (3.30%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 99.04 (0.70%), Natural Gas: 2.94 (-3.10%)
- Commodities: Corn: 7.82 (1.07%), Soya Bean: 17.39 (-0.47%), Wheat: 9.24 (2.47%)
- Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3130 (-1.09%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6217 (-0.38%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 78.3750 (1.15%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.866% (0.108)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets close higher: U.S. markets finished higher for the fourth straight session as the Wall Street continued to cheer the Federal Reserve’s decision to launch another round of monetary stimulus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) rose 53.51 points, or 0.4 percent, to 13593.37. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) advanced 5.78 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1465.77, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 28.12 points, or 0.9 percent, to 3183.95. For the week, the Dow jumped 2.15 percent, the S&P 500 soared 1.94 percent, and the NASDAQ rallied 1.52 percent.
Oil prices rise: Oil prices rose on Friday amid escalating anti-U.S. protests in North Africa and Middle-East over a film that demonstrators consider blasphemous to Islam. Prices also received support from the U.S. dollar dropping to a four-month low versus the euro. Crude oil for October delivery rallied 0.7 percent, to settle at $99.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for October settlement gained 0.8 percent to $116.79 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
- Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hit an all-time high in trade today amid market speculation that the new iPhone 5 had sold out.
- Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) closed 1.4 percent higher after the company tendered an apology regarding a video used in a marketing campaign.
- Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) surged 7.4 percent on news that the social gaming giant has hired a new executive to launch a viable gambling network.
- Diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) said that despite recording weaker-than-expected order rates in Europe and China over the past few months, both the markets are beginning to stabilize.
- The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) ended 1.5 percent higher after the company said it would offer some of its former employees, lump-sum payouts, in an effort to reduce its pension liabilities.
- OfficeMax Incorporated (NYSE:OMX) said it will book a gain of $671 million in its third quarter, related to the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy proceedings.
- Florida-based Spirit Airlines Incorporated (NASDAQ:SAVE) fell 16 percent after the company said it expects a key revenue figure, total revenue per available seat mile, to fall in the third quarter, partly due to the recent impact of Hurricane Isaac.
- InterOil Corporation (USA) (NYSE:IOC) rallied 2.8 percent amid market speculation that at least two companies have tendered bids for an operating stake in its Papua New Guinea LNG project.
- Beverage companies, The Coca Cola Company (NYSE:KO), PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP) and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (NYSE:DPS) ended the day in the red after latest sales data from Nielsen showed U.S. beverage sales declined 1.4 percent last month, from the same period last year.
- Health Care REIT, Inc. (NYSE:HCN) has agreed to sell the management business of retirement community operator Sunrise Senior Living, Inc. (NYSE:SRZ) to private equity firms, KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR), Coastwood Senior Housing Partners LLC and Beecken Patty O’Keefe & Co, for about $130 million.
- AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS) ended 9 percent lower after forecasting a wider net loss in the third quarter. The steel maker expects a loss of 60 cents to 65 cents per share for the three months ending September, compared with a loss of 3 cents per share in the same period last year.
- Canadian lender Bank of Montreal (USA) (NYSE:BMO) (TSE:BMO), which a few months ago had said it would close 24 U.S. branches, announced that its Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank eliminated 74 jobs at a data center in Cedarburg and a mortgage underwriting office in Sun Prairie.
- Chinese semiconductor maker RDA Microelectronics Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:RDA) closed 9 percent higher after announcing its first special dividend of 20 cents per ordinary share, or $1.20 per American depositary share.
- Water filtration company Pentair, Inc. (NYSE:PNR) said its shareholders voted to approve its planned $4.6 billion merger with the flow control unit of Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE:TYC).
- The board of newspaper company, A. H. Belo Corporation (NYSE:AHC) has approved a special dividend of 24 cents a share and a new share repurchase program.
Hedge Fund News Update
- Hedge fund managers are betting that Xstrata PLC (LON:XTA) will accept commodities trader Glencore International Plc (LON:GLEN)‘s revised $34 billion bid for the company, according to a Reuters report.
- Hedge funds gained 0.83 percent in August, and were up 6.76 percent year-to-date, according to the SS&C GlobeOp Hedge Fund Performance Index.
- New York-based hedge fund firm Lasair Capital is planning to wind down its portfolios and return about $250 million to clients in the coming months.
- U.K. hedge fund firm Polygon has launched a mining fund with internal seed capital, at a time when many analysts believe that the sector has peaked.
- The Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System has hired San Francisco-based Albourne America to help restructure its fund of hedge funds portfolio.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Friday, September 14, 2012
- ABB Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:ABB) was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Exane BNP Paribas.
- CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CF) was lifted to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $253.
- HollyFrontier Corp (NYSE:HFC) was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co.
- Plum Creek Timber Co. Inc. (NYSE:PCL) was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $47.
- Perrigo Company (NASDAQ:PRGO) was lifted to “buy” from an “above average” rating by analysts at Caris & Co. with a target price of $136.
- SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW) was upgraded to “strong buy” from “outperform” by analysts at Raymond James with a target price of $14.
- AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS) was lowered to “sell” from “underperform” by analysts at Credit Agricole.
- Brady Corp (NYSE:BRC) was downgraded to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $30.
- Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA) was cut to “sell” from “hold” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus.
- Greif, Inc. (NYSE:GEF) was downgraded to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $46.
- Knight Transportation (NYSE:KNX) was lowered to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Citigroup.
- Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NYSE:LVLT) was cut by analysts at Raymond James from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating.
- Synaptics, Incorporated (NASDAQ:SYNA) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by