* US: Dow: 13579.50 (-0.13%), S&P 500: 1460.15 (-0.01%), NASDAQ: 3179.96 (0.13%)
* Europe: CAC: 3530.72 (0.59%), DAX: 7451.62 (0.83%), FTSE: 5852.62 (-0.03%).
* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4408.30 (0.25%), China: 2026.69 (0.09%), Hong Kong: 20734.94 (0.69%), India: 5691.15 (2.46%), Japan: 9110.00 (0.25%).
* Metals: Gold: 1778.00 (0.44%), Silver: 34.64 (-0.13%), Copper: 3.79 (0.80%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 92.89 (0.51%), Natural Gas: 2.88 (3.15%)
* Commodities: Corn: 7.48 (0.30%), Soya Bean: 16.21 (0.19%), Wheat: 8.97 (2.02%)
* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2979 (-0.06%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6229 (-0.08%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 78.1550 (-0.10%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 1.753% (-0.011)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end largely unchanged: U.S. markets gave up gains in the final hour of trading to end flat on Friday as investors looked for clues about the direction of the global economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) erased 17.46 points, or 0.13 percent to close at 13,579.47. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) slid 0.11 points, or 0.01 percent to finish at 1,460.15, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) squeezed out a small gain of 4 points, or 0.13 percent, to end at 3,179.96. For the week, the Dow dipped 0.10 percent, the S&P 500 fell 0.38 percent, and the NASDAQ lost 0.13 percent.
Oil prices gain: Oil prices rose on Friday, rebounding from steep losses made earlier in the week, amid a weak dollar, and supply concerns. Crude oil for November delivery added 0.5 percent, to settle at $92.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for November settlement rallied 1.3 percent to $111.50 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
* General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) said it is recalling 473,841 Saturn, Chevrolet and Pontiac sedans from the 2007 to 2010 model years to fix a transmission problem that could lead the cars to roll away unexpectedly after the driver has left the vehicle.
* Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) have been the target of repeated cyber attacks from hackers in Iran over the past year, according to a Reuters report.
* Telecom operators offering the iPhone gained on Friday. Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) rallied 3.9 percent, while AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) gained 0.4 percent and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) added 0.3 percent.
* Kraft Foods Inc (NASDAQ:KFT) will be replaced by UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) after the close on Friday.
* Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) has struck a deal with the National Football League to carry the NFL Network and the RedZone channel in its line-up, Bloomberg News reported.
* Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has asked a government panel in China to stop four state-owned companies, China Railway Construction, TravelSky Technology, China Post Group and China National Petroleum, from allegedly using pirated or unlicensed software, Reuters reported.
* MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) ended 4 percent higher after chief executive, Roger Linquist told an investor conference that subscriber cancellations are on the decline as customers are deciding to stick to its next-generation LTE network.
* Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR) fell another 3.9 percent on Friday, following yesterday’s 10 percent decline, after rival Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) rolled out its own single-serve brewing machine.
* Asia’s largest listed carrier by sales, All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (TYO:9202) agreed to buy 11 more 787 Dreamliner aircrafts from The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) for about 254.7 billion yen ($3.3 billion).
* Genworth Financial Inc (NYSE:GNW) fell 2.9 percent after acting chief executive Martin Klein said the cost of defending its investment-grade status at Moody’s Investors Service may be more harmful than a downgrade itself.
* Western Asset Mortgage Capital Corp (NYSE:WMC) gained 8 percent after more than doubling its quarterly dividend to 85 cents a share, from 38 cents a share.
* Diversified company Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SPB) is in advanced talks to buy Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (NYSE:SWK)’s hardware and home-improvement business, Reuters reported.
* Principal Financial Group Inc (NYSE:PFG) has added to its real estate portfolio to increase investment income as it seeks an alternative to bonds after the Federal Reserve vowed to maintain interest rates near record lows, Chief Investment Officer Julia Lawler said today.
* Viropharma Inc (NASDAQ:VPHM) ended 7.6 percent higher after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted its hold on the study of its treatment for hereditary angioedema, Cinryze. Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO), which provides delivery technology for the drug, also popped on the news.
* Microvision, Inc. (NASDAQ:MVIS) fell 13 percent after the maker of display technology for consumer devices said its chief financial officer, Jeff Wilson, has resigned. The company said it had begun a search for his replacement.
* Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTX) fell 8 percent after the cancer drug maker said it would end development of its experimental small-cell lung cancer drug, Amuvatinib, as the drug failed short of the targeted response rate in patients in a mid-stage study.
Hedge Fund News Update
* Hedge fund redemption requests rose to their highest level this year in September, data from hedge fund administrator SS&C GlobeOp showed. SS&C GlobeOp’s forward redemption indicator stood at 3.76 percent in September, up from 3.34 percent last month and higher than the 3.11 percent seen in the year-ago period.
* Asia-focused hedge funds saw assets under management increase 2.5 percent, or $3.5 billion, during the first-half of the year, helped by a few large start-ups in Hong Kong, a survey by industry tracker AsiaHedge showed on Friday. Overall assets held by Hong King-based hedge funds jumped to a record $47.1 billion during the period, while assets under Singapore-based funds fell to $19.8 billion. Hedge funds in Japan saw assets plunge by 41 percent to $5.72 billion.
* New York-based hedge fund firm Coherence Capital recently bought bonds issued by British lender Barclays PLC (ADR) (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC), hoping that new chief executive Antony Jenkins’ more conservative approach would prove to be favorable for bond holders, according to a Reuters report.
* Ray Dalio, founder and co-chief investment officer of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, said that investors should own gold as a hedge against the negative effects of money printing that the central banks have embarked upon.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Friday, September 21, 2012
* AU Optronics Corp. (ADR) (NYSE:AUO) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Bank of America.
* AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN) was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Bank of America.
* ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $31.
* Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $68.
* International Paper Company (NYSE:IP) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $42.
* KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. (NYSE:KS) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $23.
* Molina Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE:MOH) was raised to “positive” from “neutral” by analysts at Susquehanna with a target price of $30.
* Packaging Corp of America (NYSE:PKG) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $37.
* Rock-Tenn Company (NYSE:RKT) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $75.
* Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) was raised to “overweight” from “equal weight” by analysts at Evercore Partners.
* Wet Seal (NASDAQ:WTSLA) was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Roth Capital with a target price of $4.
* Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION) was upgraded to “neutral” from “underperform” by analysts at Sterne Agee with a target price of $23.
* Celanese Corporation (NYSE:CE) was lowered to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co.
* Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE:CTB) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at KeyBanc.
* The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE:GT) was cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at KeyBanc.
* HIS Inc. (NYSE:IHS) was downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Robert W. Baird with a target price of $105.
* Inteliquent (NASDAQ:IQNT) was lowered to “underperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Raymond James.
* Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU) was cut by analysts at Brean Murray from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating.
* Penford Corporation (NASDAQ:PENX) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Jefferies Group with a target price of $9.
* Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTEN) was lowered to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Capital One.
* Walter Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WLT) was cut by analysts at Brean Murray from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating.