* US: Dow: 13457.50 (-0.75%), S&P 500: 1441.59 (-1.05%), NASDAQ: 3117.73 (-1.36%)
* Europe: CAC: 3513.81 (0.47%), DAX: 7425.11 (0.16%), FTSE: 5859.71 (0.36%).
* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4372.90 (-0.29%), China: 2029.29 (-0.19%), Hong Kong: 20698.68 (0.02%), India: 5673.90 (0.08%), Japan: 9091.54 (0.24%).
* Metals: Gold: 1766.40 (0.10%), Silver: 33.95 (-0.11%), Copper: 3.73 (-0.03%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 91.37 (-0.61%), Natural Gas: 2.92 (3.07%)
* Commodities: Corn: 7.43 (-0.13%), Soya Bean: 16.11 (0.09%), Wheat: 8.86 (-0.62%)
* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2906 (0.23%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6195 (0.23%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 77.7850 (-0.08%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 1.666% (-0.043)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets closed lower on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 posting its worst decline in three months, as investor concerns about a slowdown in global growth overshadowed positive reports on U.S. consumer confidence and the housing market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) shed 101.37 points, or 0.75 percent, to end at 13,457.55. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) slumped 15.30 points, or 1.05 percent, to finish at 1,441.59, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) lost 43.05 points, or 1.36 percent, to close at 3,117.73.
Oil prices decline: Oil prices fell on Tuesday after Charles Plosser, president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve, criticized the Federal Reserve’s decision to launch a third round of monetary easing. Crude oil for November delivery gave up 0.6 percent, to settle at $91.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for November settlement added 0.1 percent to $109.95 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
* Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) said Ken Goldman will join as Chief Financial Officer, effective October 22. Goldman will succeed Tim Morse.
* Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL) reported third quarter earnings excluding items of $1.53 per share that easily beat the average analysts’ estimate of $1.43 per share. Revenue for the quarter declined 7.4 percent to $4.68 billion from $5.06 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts were expecting revenue of $4.68 billion. The world’s largest cruise operator narrowed its full-year profit forecast.
* Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) chief executive Paul Otellini has told employees in Taiwan that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Windows 8 operating system, due to go on sale October 26, is being released before it’s fully ready, according to a Bloomberg report.
* Jabil Circuit, Inc. (NYSE:JBL) posted fourth quarter earnings excluding one-time items of 54 cents a share, on revenue of $4.34 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings excluding items of 58 cents a share on revenue of $4.22 billion. The company provided current-quarter outlook that missed some estimates.
* International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) said its board has elected chief executive Virginia Rometty as the new chairman, effective October 1.
* Research In Motion Limited (USA) (NASDAQ:RIMM) rallied 4.7 percent after it said that it added about 2 million subscribers over the last quarter, surprising many Wall Street analysts.
* French auto group Peugeot SA (EPA:UG) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) are planning to jointly build small cars in Brazil, according to a Reuters report.
* The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) said it will sell its stake in the jobs search website Indeed.com, which will be acquired by Japan-based Recruit Co Ltd for an undisclosed amount.
* Quest Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:QSFT)’s shareholders have approved its acquisition by Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), first announced in early July.
* Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) fell 4.2 percent after it said it will discontinue development of its experimental hepatitis-C drug, ALS-2158. http://www.valuewalk.com/2012/09/vertex-drops-one-hepatitis-c-drug-as-a-dud-but-still-offers-hope/
* Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) slumped 5.2 percent to hit a 52-week low after analysts at FBR Capital Markets lowered its price target from $7.50 to $6. * Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) said it is launching a video streaming and download service this autumn that will let owners of its Nook tablet buy and watch movies and TV shows on their devices.
* Restaurant operator Biglari Holdings Inc (NYSE:BH), run by activist investor Sardar Biglari, agreed to pay $850,000 to settle charges that it violated merger
reporting rules when it purchased shares of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBRL), last year.
* Chemical company Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) fell 6 percent after the Wall Street Journal reported that August sales in its specialty ingredients segment fell 9.7 percent from July.
* Biopharmaceutical company Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:MACK) tanked 17 percent after insiders were allowed to sell shares for the first time since its initial public offering.
* ECB Bancorp, Inc. (NYSEAMEX:ECBE) soared 34 percent after agreeing to be acquired by Crescent Financial Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRFN) for about $51.6 million, or $17.75 a share.
* Genetic Technologies Limited (ADR) (NASDAQ:GENE) said that its breast cancer treatment BREVAGen has been cleared for sale in the State of Florida.
* Forward Air Corporation (NASDAQ:FWRD) fell 11 percent after the air-cargo industry contractor cut its third-quarter profit guidance. The company now expects to earn 39 cents to 41 cents per share in the third quarter, against earlier projections of 47 cents to 51 cents per share.
* Pizza Inn, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZI) ended 8 percent lower after slipping to a fourth quarter loss compared to a profit in the year ago period. Revenue for the quarter also declined.
* Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR) fell 3.5 percent after overall orders fell 5 percent in the three months ended in August amid weakness in the telecom sector.
* Biofuel producer Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ:GEVO) fell to a record low after announcing plans to stop producing isobutanol at its facility in Luverne, Minnesota, and shift to ethanol.
Hedge Fund News Update
* Stuart Lippman and David Liu left Tandem Global Management LP to start a mortgage-focused structured-credit hedge fund at New York-based TIG Advisors LLC, according to a Bloomberg report.
* Hedge funds were up 0.84 percent in August, with eight out of 10 strategies in positive territory, according to the Dow Jones Credit Suisse Hedge Fund Index. Long/Short Equity funds and Event Driven funds were the best performers last month.
* The Security and Exchange Board of India is reviewing 20 hedge fund applications, a few months after unveiling new alternative investments regulations in the country.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Tuesday, September 25, 2012
* Approach Resources Inc. (NASDAQ:AREX) was raised to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $39.50.
* Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) was lifted to “hold” from “sell” by analysts at EVA Dimensions.
* DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Hudson Square Research with a target price of $60.
* Gold Fields Limited (ADR) (NYSE:GFI) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Bank of America.
* Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at EVA Dimensions.
* Riverbed Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RVBD) was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at William Blair.
* Safeway Inc. (NYSE:SWY) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at BMO Capital Markets with a target price of $25.
* TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO) was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Lazard Capital with a target price of $14.
* Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Hudson Square Research with a target price of $110.
* WNS (Holdings) Limited (ADR) (NYSE:WNS) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co.
* Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ:ADP) was cut to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $59.
* Abaxis Inc (NASDAQ:ABAX) was lowered to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Raymond James.
* Anixter International Inc. (NYSE:AXE) was downgraded to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Credit Suisse with a target price of $60.
* Capstead Mortgage Corporation (NYSE:CMO) was cut to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Macquarie with a target price of $14.50.
* CSG Systems International, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSGS) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Citigroup with a target price of $24.
* D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI) was lowered to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Barclays Capital.
* Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ:GEVO) was cut by analysts at Cowen from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating.
* Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods with a target price of $42.
* Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. (NYSE:MLM) was lowered to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at KeyBanc.
* Penn West Petroleum Ltd (USA) (NYSE:PWE) was cut by analysts at BMO Capital Markets from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating.
* Genon Energy Inc (NYSE:GEN) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Citigroup with a target price of $2.90.
* Toll Brothers Inc (NYSE:TOL) was lowered to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Barclays Capital with a target price of $41.
* Vulcan Materials Company (NYSE:VMC) was cut by analysts at KeyBanc from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating.