- US: Dow: 13292.00 (1.87%), S&P 500: 1432.12 (2.04%), NASDAQ: 3135.81 (2.17%)
- Europe: CAC: 3509.88 (2.97%), DAX: 7167.33 (2.83%), FTSE: 5777.34 (2.07%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4312.90 (0.80%), China: 2051.92 (0.69%), Hong Kong: 19209.30 (0.33%), India: 5238.40 (0.24%), Japan: 8680.57 (0.01%).
- Metals: Gold: 1705.60 (0.68%), Silver: 32.67 (1.07%), Copper: 3.52 (-0.11%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 95.53 (0.18%), Natural Gas: 2.78 (-0.68%)
- Commodities: Corn: 7.98 (0.98%), Soya Bean: 17.47 (-0.03%), Wheat: 8.91 (2.77%)
- Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2632 (-0.23%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.5933 (-0.19%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 78.8650 (0.60%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.678% (0.082)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end significantly higher: U.S. markets soared in trade today amid a slew of upbeat economic reports, and a new bond-buying program from the European Central Bank. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) added 244.52 points, or 1.87 percent, to close at 13,292.00, its best close since December 2007. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) surged 28.68 points, or 2.04 percent, to end at 1,432.12, its highest finish since January 2008, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) jumped 66.54 points, or 2.17 percent, to finish at 3,135.81.
Oil prices rise marginally higher: Oil prices edged higher in a choppy session on Thursday after U.S. crude inventories fell 7.43 million barrels last week. Prices jumped more than 1 percent in early trade, before giving up gains to settle marginally higher. Crude oil for October delivery rose 0.2 percent, to settle at $95.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for October settlement fell 0.2 percent to $112.92 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
- Online retailer Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) hit an all-time high in trade today after unveiling a new Kindle Fire tablet with a high-definition display.
- Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:SHLD) climbed 10 percent after Chairman Eddie Lampert purchased 2.39 million shares of the retailer’s stock at $52.75 apiece, according to a regulatory filing.
- Beauty-products retailer Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULTA) reported second quarter earnings of 54 cents a share on revenue of $482 million that topped the average analysts’ estimate of earnings of 51 cents a share on revenue of $474 million.
- Pharmacy chain Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) said August same-store sales fell a bigger-than-expected 8.2 percent, while fourth quarter revenue declined 5 percent to $17.08 billion, against analysts’ expectations of revenue of $17.2 billion.
- Firearms maker Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC) posted first quarter net income of 28 cents a share on revenue of $136 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 18 cents a share on revenue of $139 million. The company handed in current-quarter guidance that topped analysts’ projections.
- Mattress-store chain Mattress Firm Holding Corp (NASDAQ:MFRM) reported second quarter adjusted earnings of 42 cents a share that easily beat estimates of 28 cents a share. Revenue for the quarter increased 46 percent to $262.02 million, but trailed Street expectations for $263.26 million. The company provided lower than expected current-quarter earnings outlook.
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR) moved 3.2 percent higher after announcing that it will introduce a line of drinks that will contain vitamins and antioxidants, as part of a plan to diversify its offerings amid intensifying competition for its single-serve coffee drinks.
- Professional-networking company Linkedin Corporation (NYSE:LNKD) is not looking at any more acquisitions in the near-term, Chief Executive Jeff Weiner said today.
- Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) soared 3.6 percent after President Ed Bastian forecast solid third-quarter profit despite rising fuel prices, at the Deutsche Bank conference.
- Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) jumped 5 percent after the biopharmaceutical company’s experimental drug for psoriatic arthritis met its main goal in two additional late-stage clinical trials.
- Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA)’s NBC Universal, which paid about $1.18 billion for U.S. TV rights of the London Olympics, broke even on its broadcast of the Games, Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, told Bloomberg News.
- Data-storage firm OCZ Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ:OCZ) fell 19 percent after issuing weaker-than-expected fiscal second-quarter revenue forecast due to constraints in the supply of NAND flash memory.
- Bermuda-based Enstar Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ESGR), backed by hedge fund manager J. Christopher Flowers, will buy the U.S. and Canadian closed-life insurance operations of HSBC Finance, a unit of British lender HSBC Holdings plc (ADR) (NYSE:HBC) (LON:HSBA), for a base price of $181 million.
- Internet-phone company magicJack VocalTec Ltd (NASDAQ:CALL) climbed to the highest in five months in New York trading after raising its full-year earnings and revenue growth forecast on strong demand. The Israel-based company now expects per-share earnings of between $1.70 and $2.00 for the year, on revenue growth of between 35 percent and 45 percent.
- Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU) has shelved the $500 million sale of a thermal-coal mine in Queensland, Australia, after failing to attract a worthwhile bid, Reuters reported.
Hedge Fund News Update
- Hedge funds returned an average 0.7 percent for the month of August, notching year-to-date gains of 4.2 percent, according to data provided by eVestment | HFN Research. Multi-strategy funds, long-short equity funds and event-driven/distressed funds were the best performers last month.
- Joseph Russell’s New York-based multi-strategy credit hedge fund, Bell Point Capital Management LP, is planning to close by the end of the year, Bloomberg reported.
- New York hedge fund D.E. Shaw had the biggest asset growth among the top 20 hedge fund firms in Absolute Return magazine’s bi-annual Billion Dollar Club.
- Ranji Nagaswami, New York City’s first pensions chief investment officer has left to join the world’s biggest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates LP.
- London-based Duet Asset Management is planning to launch an emerging markets macro hedge fund, and has hired David Dali, who led the emerging markets team at Macquarie Investment, as a chief investment officer.
- Steve Galbraith, a partner at Maverick Capital Limited, will leave the hedge fund as soon as the end of this month, and is reportedly planning to start his own investment firm.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Thursday, September 06, 2012
- Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) was raised to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $14.
- AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS) was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Longbow Research with a target price of $8.
- Francesca’s Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:FRAN) was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Avondale Partners with a target price of $35.
- Snyder S Lance (NASDAQ:LNCE) was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at KeyBanc Capital Markets with a target price of $27.
- OGE Energy Corp. (NYSE:OGE) was lifted to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at BMO Capital Markets with a target price of $61.
- Randgold Resources Ltd. (ADR) (NASDAQ:GOLD) was upgraded to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase.
- SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE:STI) was raised to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $31.50.
- Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (NYSE:SWK) was lifted to “overweight” from “equal weight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley with a