- US: Dow: 13333.30 (0.07%), S&P 500: 1436.56 (0.21%), NASDAQ: 3114.31 (0.32%)
- Europe: CAC: 3543.79 (0.18%), DAX: 7343.53 (0.46%), FTSE: 5782.08 (-0.17%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4361.30 (0.82%), China: 2126.55 (0.28%), Hong Kong: 20075.39 (1.08%) India: 5431.00 (0.76%), Japan: 8959.96 (1.70%).
- Metals: Gold: 1733.70 (-0.07%), Silver: 33.29 (-0.82%), Copper: 3.69 (-0.12%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 97.01 (-0.16%), Natural Gas: 3.06 (2.37%)
- Commodities: Corn: 7.69 (-1.06%), Soya Bean: 17.45 (2.60%), Wheat: 8.90 (0.71%)
- Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2900 (-0.37%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6107 (-0.24%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 77.8450 (0.06%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.758% (0.057)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end higher: U.S. markets ended the day modestly higher ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy announcement. Earlier in the session, the Dow and the S&P 500 touched fresh multi-year intraday highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) eked out a gain of 9.99 points, or 0.07 percent, to close at 13,333.35. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 3.00 points, or 0.21 percent, to end at 1,436.5, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 9.78 points, or 0.32 percent, to finish at 3,114.31.
Oil prices fall: Oil prices declined in a choppy session on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories rose 1.99 million barrels last week. Crude oil for October delivery slid 0.2 percent, to settle at $97.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for October settlement gained 0.2 percent to $115.58 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
- Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) ended 1.4 percent higher after unveiling a thinner and lighter iPhone 5 that has a bigger screen and a new processor based on the next-generation ARM chips.
- Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) raised its quarterly dividend by 10 percent to 85 cents a share from 77 cents a share.
- MetLife Inc (NYSE:MET) closed 2.1 percent lower after the Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has not approved the sale of its banking business to General Electric Company (NYSE:GE).
- Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) has retained Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) as an advisor amid continued pressure from activist fund Relational Investors LLC, which reported an increased stake of 3.8 percent as of the second quarter.
- McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) said it will begin posting calorie information, both on the menu board inside the restaurant as well as on the drive-through menu, at its U.S. stores next week.
- Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) is likely to announce next Wednesday the multibillion-dollar sale of half its assets in Chinese Internet giant Alibaba, All Things D reported.
- American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) soared to its highest level in more than four years after the teen retailer declared a special dividend of $1.50 a share, in addition to its regular quarterly dividend of 11 cents a share.
- Footwear retailer DSW Inc. (NYSE:DSW) declared a special dividend of $2 a share
- Japanese trading company Itochu Corp (TYO:8001) is planning to acquire Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE)’s packaged-foods business and its fruit and vegetable unit in Asia, for an estimated $1.7 billion, the Nikkei business daily reported.
- Oncolytics Biotech, Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:ONCY) tanked 15 percent after the company announced changes to its study of its head and neck cancer drug, Reolysin
- The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) fell 0.4 percent following news that British defense contractor BAE Systems plc (LON:BA) is in advanced merger talks with Airbus-owner EADS NV (EPA:EAD).
- Private equity firms KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR), Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE:APO) and Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC are all considering a buyout of vehicle auction company, KAR Auction Services Inc (NYSE:KAR), in a deal that could be worth close to $4 billion, according to a Reuters report.
- Real estate investment trust Two Harbors Investment Corp (NYSE:TWO) slashed its quarterly dividend by 10 percent to 36 cents a share from 40 cents a share.
- Coffee roaster Coffee Holding Co., Inc. (NASDAQ:JVA) jumped 19 percent after the company said third quarter net income increased to $1.2 million, or 19 cents per share, from $168,236 million, or 3 cents per share, in the year ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter increased 24 percent to $44.5 million from $35.8 million, a year earlier.
- TheStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ:TST), owner of the financial website TheStreet.com, bought mergers and acquisition publication, The Deal from private equity firm Wasserstein & Co for $5.8 million in cash, according to a regulatory filing.
- Cruise company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL) raised its quarterly dividend by 20 percent to 12 cents a share from 10 cents a share.
- Energy-technology firm PMFG Inc (NASDAQ:PMFG) plunged 15 percent after reporting a fourth-quarter net loss, amid falling revenue that also trailed estimates.
Hedge Fund News Update
- Vancouver-based telecommunications provider Telus Corporation (USA) (NYSE:TU) (TSE:T) said a court has rejected a call by a New York hedge fund, and largest shareholder, Mason Capital Management LLC to hold a meeting of Telus shareholders on October 17 to consider a proposal to block its share consolidation plan.
- A U.S. judge has dismissed a six-year-old lawsuit in which Canadian insurer Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (TSE:FFH) sought billions of dollars from hedge funds it claimed spread false rumors to drive down its stock price, according to a Reuters report.
- London-based hedge fund Capula Investment Management has hired Angelo Gordon & Co. distressed debt specialist, Steven Heanly, as a senior portfolio manager.
- Hong Kong-based hedge fund Pivotal Investments is planning to shut-down, and is returning capital to investors.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Wednesday, September 12, 2012
- Agrium Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AGU) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Citigroup with a target price of $118.
- Black Hills Corp (NYSE:BKH) was lifted to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $41.
- Federated Investors Inc (NYSE:FII) was upgraded to “neutral” from “sell” by analysts at Goldman Sachs with a target price of $20.
- Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (NYSE:GPI) was raised to “overweight” from “underweight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley.
- J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:JBHT) was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $60.
- Kinder Morgan Inc (NYSE:KMI) was upgraded to “neutral” from “underperform” by analysts at Bank of America.
- Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS) was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $62.
- PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM) was lifted to a “buy” rating by analysts at Williams Financial Group.
- Rogers Communications Inc. (USA) (NYSE:RCI) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Bank of America.
- SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW) was raised to “hold” from “sell” by analysts at Dahlman Rose.
- Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) was downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Robert W. Baird with a target price of $84.
- Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE:CNS) was cut to “sell” from “neutral” by analysts at Goldman Sachs with a target price of $26.50.
- Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) was downgraded to “sell” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG.
- Finish Line Inc (NASDAQ:FINL)