Every afternoon (and morning) we provide an update on global market levels, company news, economic news, and hedge fund news. Highlights for October 15th 2012 below:

update

Market Levels

  • US:  Dow: 13424.20 (0.72%), S&P 500: 1440.13 (0.81%), NASDAQ: 3064.18 (0.66%)
  • Europe: CAC: 3420.28 (0.91%), DAX: 7261.25 (0.40%), FTSE: 5805.61 (0.21%).
  • Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4483.40 (-0.07%), China: 2098.70 (-0.30%), Hong Kong: 21148.25 (0.06%), India: 5687.25 (0.20%), Japan: 8577.93 (0.51%).
  • Metals: Gold: 1738.00 (-1.23%), Silver: 32.73 (-2.77%), Copper: 3.69 (-0.12%)
  • Energy: Crude Oil: 91.84 (-0.02%), Natural Gas: 3.48 (-3.41%)
  • Commodities: Corn: 7.37 (-2.06%), Soya Bean: 14.92 (-1.97%), Wheat: 8.48 (-0.99%)
  • Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2946 (-0.02%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6071 (0.00%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 78.6400 (0.05%)
  • 10 year US Treasury: 1.663% (0.007)

Market and Economy News Update

 

U.S. markets end higher: U.S. markets closed near the highs of the day on Monday as investors cheered a sharp rise in retail sales and strong earnings from Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C). The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) rallied 95.38 points, or 0.72 percent, to close at 13,424.23. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) gained 11.54 points, or 0.81 percent, to finish at 1,440.13, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) climbed 20.07 points, or 0.66 percent, to end at 3,064.18.

Oil prices flat: U.S. crude prices were largely unchanged on Monday, while Brent crude rose, amid North Sea production delays and concerns about supply disruption due to the Middle East turmoil. Crude oil for November delivery fell 0.02 percent, to settle at $91.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for November settlement added 1.1 percent to $115.87 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

 

Stocks in Focus

  • Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) fell 0.5 percent after it was told to unravel changes in its European privacy policy to protect the rights of its users.
  • Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has hired Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) executive William Stasior to run its Siri business unit, Kara Swisher of AllThingsD reported late Monday.
  • Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) ended 4.1 percent higher after reporting positive results from a late-stage study of its experimental stomach cancer drug ramucirumab.
  • Household-product maker WD-40 Company (NASDAQ:WDFC) reported fourth quarter earnings of 56 cents a share on sales of $85 million. Analysts had forecast earnings of 70 cents a share on revenue of $94 million. The company provided full-year 2013 revenue guidance that came in at the low end of expectations.
  • Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) has expanded its board to 11 members, adding Adebaya Ogunlesi, managing partner and chairman of New York-based private equity firm, Global Infrastructure Partners.
  • Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR) soared 16 percent amid news that Softbank Corp (TYO:9984) has reached a deal to buy up to 70 percent in U.S. carrier Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) for $20.1 billion.
  • UBS AG (USA) (NYSE:UBS) CFO Tom Naratil said the bank fired as many as 550 employees after it suffered a $2.3 billion loss from unauthorized trading last year, according to a Bloomberg report.
  • Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) jumped 4 percent after a new study showed its experimental hepatitis C drug regimen suppressed the virus in 99 percent of patients with the liver disease.
  • Internet radio company Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) closed 3.1 percent lower on worries about increasing competition after Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced the launch of an on-demand streaming music service.
  • Diversified semiconductor maker Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:MCHP) has lowered its revenue guidance for the second quarter due to weak macroeconomic conditions
  • Home-nursing provider Amedisys Inc (NASDAQ:AMED) tumbled the most in five months after saying that a new agreement with insurer Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM) will provide half as much revenue as a previous deal.
  • Diversified manufacturer ITT Corp (NYSE:ITT) has agreed to acquire German pump provider Joh. Heinr. Bornemann GmbH for about 206 million euros ($267 million).
  • Consumer financial-services Bankrate Inc (NYSE:RATE) said third-quarter results will miss Wall Street estimates.
  • Mexican cement and building-materials company Cemex SAB de CV  (NYSE:CX) reported narrower third quarter net loss, helped by steady sales and an increase in operating cash flow.
  • Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AEGR) soared 9.4 percent on Monday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewers said the company’s drug for a rare cholesterol disorder appears effective.
  • Health care software company Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:MDRX) has named Richard J. Poulton as its new chief financial officer.
  • Chinese crop nutrient products maker Yongye International Inc (NASDAQ:YONG) closed 17 percent higher after receiving an offer to be taken private by its chief executive in a deal that values the company at about $326 million.
  • Mobile advertising company Millennial Media, Inc. (NYSE:MM) raised its third-quarter revenue forecast but said it expects to post a net loss for the quarter. The company also disclosed plans to sell up to a million shares in a follow-up offering.

Hedge Fund News Update

  • The three principals of London-based hedge fund GLG Partners, Pierre Lagrange, Emmanuel Roman and Noam Gottesman, who swapped their stakes in GLG for shares in Man Group Plc (LON:EMG) as part of a merger, will be, for the first time able to dispose off their holdings on Monday, after the first lock up agreement expires, according to a report in The Financial Times.
  • Emerging market-focused hedge funds climbed 4.5 percent in the third quarter, and were up about 2.6 percent in September, according to industry tracker eVestment|HFN. Hedge funds, on average, gained 2.79 percent for the quarter, and only 1 percent last month.
  • Hedge fund managers increased their net long positions across precious metals futures and options in the week ended October 9, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  • Chinese private equity firm SAIF Partners is planning to launch a long/short equity fund, according to a Reuters report.
  • HSBC Holdings Plc, which administers $150 billion in assets for hedge funds, is ending agreements with some smaller Asian clients to concentrate on more profitable ones, according to a report in Bloomberg News.

 

Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Monday, October 15, 2012

  • Alliant Techsystems Inc. (NYSE:ATK) was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at FBR Capital with a target price of $65.
  • Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR) was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” by analysts at Macquarie.
  • Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) was lifted to “market perform” from “underperform” by analysts at BMO Capital Markets.
  • Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) was upgraded to “neutral” from “underperform” by analysts at Exane BNP Paribas.
  • Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Credit Suisse.
  • IntercontinentalExchange Inc (NYSE:ICE) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at BGB Securities.
  • Intersil Corp (NASDAQ:ISIL) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus.
  • Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (NYSE:LPX) was raised to “outperform” from “sector perform” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets.
  • Penn Virginia Corporation (NYSE:PVA) was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at SunTrust.
  • Realty Income Corp (NYSE:O) was upgraded to “neutral” from “sell” by analysts at UBS AG.
  • Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) was raised to “hold” from “underperform” by analysts at Jefferies Group.
  • SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) was lifted to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Wedbush with a target price of $49.
  • Titan International Inc (NYSE:TWI) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Jefferies Group.
  • Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG) was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Macquarie.
  • Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE:WY) was lifted to “outperform” from “sector perform” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets.