Post Market Update
* US: Dow: 13486.00 (0.54%), S&P 500: 1447.15 (0.96%), NASDAQ: 3136.60 (1.39%)
* Europe: CAC: 3439.32 (0.71%), DAX: 7290.02 (0.19%), FTSE: 5779.42 (0.20%).
* Metals: Gold: 1779.60 (-0.05%), Silver: 34.67 (2.14%), Copper: 3.77 (1.73%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 91.85 (2.08%), Natural Gas: 3.30 (2.55%)
* Commodities: Corn: 7.16 (-1.17%), Soya Bean: 15.70 (-0.14%), Wheat: 8.55 (-1.58%)
* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2915 (-0.30%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6234 (-0.40%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 77.5950 (-0.17%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 1.654% (0.045)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end higher: U.S. markets closed higher on Thursday, with the S&P 500 snapping a five-day losing streak, amid investor optimism that the Chinese government would provide additional stimulus. Sentiment was also improved by news that Spain unveiled its economic reform plans. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) rose 72.46 points, or 0.54 percent, to close at 13,485.97. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rallied 13.83 points, or 0.96 percent, to end at 1,447.15, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) climbed 42.90 points, or 1.39 percent, to finish at 3,136.60.
Oil prices soar: Oil prices gained on Thursday amid growing political tensions between Iran and the West, raising concerns about potential supply disruptions. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that his country was capable of “neutralizing” all attempts to sabotage its nuclear facilities. Crude oil for November delivery jumped 2.1 percent, to settle at $91.85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for November settlement surged 2.2 percent to $112.46 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
* Nike, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) reported first quarter earnings of $1.23 a share that beat the average analysts’ estimate of $1.12 a share. Revenue for the period increased 10 percent to $6.7 billion, topping estimates of $6.42 billion.
* Research In Motion Limited (USA) (NASDAQ:RIMM) reported second quarter adjusted loss of 27 cents per share versus estimates for a loss of 46 cents per share. Revenue for the quarter came in at $2.87 billion, topping expectations for $2.50 billion.
* Accenture Plc (NYSE:ACN) posted fourth quarter earnings of 88 cents a share, in line with estimates. Sales stood at $6.84 billion, topping expectations for $6.76 billion. The company forecast current-quarter revenue that was mostly in line with estimates.
* Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) reported fourth quarter loss of 24 cents a share, two cents worse than expected. Revenue fell to $1.96 billion from $2.14 billion a year ago, missing estimates for $2.12 billion.
* General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) jumped 3 percent after raising its full-year industrial revenue growth forecast to 10 percent, which was at the higher end of its earlier range of between 5 to 10 percent. * Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) agreed to pay about $12 million to settle charges that former executive, Neil Morrison, worked for the political campaign of former Massachusetts treasurer, Timothy P. Cahill to win lucrative government contracts in the state. * Prudential Financial Inc (NYSE:PRU) has agreed to acquire the individual life insurance business of The Hartford Financial Services Grup Inc (NYSE:HIG) in a deal worth $615 million.
* Mattress maker Sealy Corporation (NYSE:ZZ) rallied 2.3 percent after agreeing to be acquired by bigger rival Tempur-Pedic International Inc. (NYSE:TPX) in a deal valued at $229 million.
* Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) reported third quarter profit was $627 million, or $1.21 a share that beat the average analysts’ estimate of $1.03 a share. Credit card loans for the period rose 4 percent to $48.1 billion, while provisions for loan losses increased 26 percent to $126 million.
* Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is launching a new business called Amazon Lending that will offer loans to some of its online sellers from Amazon Capital Services Inc, Reuters reported.
* Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) has priced its new flagship Lumia 920 more than 10 percent higher than rival Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S3, data from Sweden and Italy showed.
* Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) rebounded from lows made earlier in the day to end 0.6 percent higher after raising its quarterly dividend by 15 percent to $1.15 a share from $1 a share.
* Packaged-goods company McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MCK) ended 1.8 percent lower after reporting third quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates, but revenue that came in below forecasts.
* United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) fell 4 percent after the airliner company said it expects current quarter passenger revenue to fall between 1 percent and 2 percent.
* MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) soared 6 percent amid reports that the prepaid wireless carrier has held talks with suitors such as Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) and Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S).
* Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB) moved lower after it said it will close two U.S. plants and cut 700 jobs, as part of an effort to trim costs.
* Satellite broadcaster Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) is in talks with networks such as Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB)’s MTV about offering their channels over the Internet, according to a Bloomberg report.
* Diversified manufacturer Actuant Corporation (NYSE:ATU) lost 5 percent after the company swung to a loss in the fiscal fourth quarter and forecast current-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ estimates.
* Specialty chemical maker HB Fuller Co (NYSE:FUL) slid 9.5 percent after the company posted lower than expected third-quarter revenue and slashed its full-year revenue forecast, citing a slowdown in the industrial adhesives market.
* TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO) ended 3 percent higher after the television entertainment company received a contract from cable TV operator Mediacom.
* Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACHN) surged 8.5 percent after the company reported positive results for an early-stage trial of its experimental hepatitis C drug.
* Construction materials company Texas Industries, Inc. (NYSE:TXI) fell 3.5 percent following weaker than expected first quarter earnings results.
* Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG) fell 1.6 percent after the company announced that some of its shareholders plan to sell 30 million shares of its common stock in a secondary stock offering.
Hedge Fund News Update
* William Collins’ New York-based multi-strategy hedge fund, Brencourt Advisors LLC, plans to shut down its funds by year-end and will begin returning money to clients next month.
* Hedge fund managers raised their bullish bets on silver to the highest level in seven months, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.
* Former Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) propriety trader, Tony D’Andraia’s Hyaline Capital Management launched its maiden hedge fund, a macro-driven long/short equity vehicle.
* As of June 2012, only 43 percent of hedge funds had cleared their respective high-water marks over the past 12 months, according to data from Hedge Fund Research.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Thursday, September 27, 2012
* CBOE Holdings, Inc (NASDAQ:CBOE) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Raymond James with a target price of $34.
* Dean Foods Company (NYSE:DF) was lifted to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at BMO Capital Markets with a target price of $21.
* The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE:GT) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Goldman Sachs with a target price of $17.
* Imax Corporation (USA) (NYSE:IMAX) was raised to “positive” from “neutral” by analysts at Susquehanna with a target price of $23.
* Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) was lifted to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co.
* Maxim Integrated Products Inc. (NASDAQ:MXIM) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Jefferies Group with a target price of $33.
* Shire Plc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:SHPG) was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Jefferies Group with a target price of $117.
* SK Telecom Co., Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:SKM) was lifted to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase.
* Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) was cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Dahlman Rose.
* Altera Corporation (NASDAQ:ALTR) was lowered to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Jefferies Group with a target price $38.
* Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE:AYI) was downgraded to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $66.
* CenterState Banks of Florida, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSFL) was cut to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Raymond James.
* D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI) was downgraded to “neutral” from “positive” by analysts at Susquehanna.
* Home Bancshares Inc (NASDAQ:HOMB) was lowered to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Raymond James.
* Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) was cut by analysts at Jefferies Group from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating.
* Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN) was downgraded to “neutral” from “positive” by analysts at Susquehanna with a target price of $25.
* NorthWestern Corporation (NYSE:NWE) was lowered to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at KeyBanc.
* Renasant Corp. (NASDAQ:RNST) was cut by analysts at Raymond James from a “strong buy” rating to an “outperform.”
* Trex Company, Inc. (NYSE:TREX) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus.
* Tripadvisor Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP) was lowered to “sector perform” from “outperform” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets with a target price of $36.