update

Market Levels

* US: Dow: 13345.00 (-0.95%), S&P 500: 1432.56 (-0.62%), NASDAQ: 3051.78 (-0.43%)

* Europe: CAC: 3365.87 (-0.50%), DAX: 7205.23 (-0.41%), FTSE: 5776.61 (-0.58%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4490.70 (-0.32%), China: 2119.94 (0.22%), Hong Kong: 20919.60 (-0.08%), India: 5652.15 (-0.92%), Japan: 8596.23 (-2.02%).

* Metals: Gold: 1765.10 (0.01%), Silver: 34.11 (0.36%), Copper: 3.72 (0.00%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 91.25 (-1.23%), Natural Gas: 3.48 (0.23%)

* Commodities: Corn: 7.36 (-0.71%), Soya Bean: 15.23 (-1.73%), Wheat: 8.69 (0.64%)

* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2864 (0.12%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.5999 (0.01%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 78.1750 (-0.10%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 1.674% (-0.039)

Market and Economy News Update

U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets closed near the lows of the day on Wednesday amid growing concerns about global economic growth. Sentiment was also affected by a tepid start to the earnings season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped 128.56 points, or 0.95 percent, to close at 13,344.97. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) declined 8.92 points, or 0.62 percent, to end at 1,432.56, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) fell 13.24 points, or 0.43 percent, to finish at 3,051.78.

Oil prices fall: Oil prices declined in a volatile session on Wednesday amid investor concerns about the global economic growth and a weak kick off to the earnings season. Crude oil for November delivery lost 1.2 percent, to settle at $91.25 a barrel on the New

York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for November settlement added 0.1 percent to $114.59 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Stocks in Focus

* JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) chief executive Jaime Dimon told the Council on Foreign Relations that he remains bullish on the U.S. economy but said that the country’s policymakers need to address the fiscal problems.

* Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) hit an all-time high on Wednesday after the retailer said it is seeing strong growth in both large and small U.S. stores, and expects global e-commerce sales to grow to $9 billion next fiscal year.

* Restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (NYSE:RT) posted first quarter earnings of 5 cents a share on revenue of $333 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 6 cents a share on revenue of $332 million. The company provided full-year 2013 earnings guidance, in line with Street expectations.

* Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) fell 1 percent after the company revealed in a regulatory filing that Chief Executive Steve Ballmer’s bonus was cut, partly due to slower-than-planned progress in the software company’s online division.

* Casino stocks, including MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM), Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ:CZR), Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) and Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN) closed significantly lower after gambling revenue in Nevada fell 3 percent in August.

* Dahlman Rose initiated coverage of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) with a “buy” rating and a “hold” rating, respectively.

* United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X), ArcelorMittal (ADR) (NYSE:MT) and POSCO (ADR) (NYSE:PKX) have made first round bids for ThyssenKrupp AG (ETR:TKA) (FRA:TKA)’s steel mills in Brazil and the United States, Reuters reported.

* H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB) fell 5.4 percent after the tax services company said it was looking to sell its bank division to avoid new capital requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act.

* MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) slid 3.8 percent amid reports that Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is holding off on an immediate counterbid for the company to gain time to weigh its options.

* Real estate investment trust Annaly Capital Management, Inc. (NYSE:NLY) has named Wellington Denahan-Norris as co-chief executive.

* Auto insurer The Progressive Corporation (NYSE:PGR) closed 1.9 percent higher after reporting third-quarter operating profit of 27 cents a share that beat the average analysts’ estimate by one cent.

* Data-storage provider OCZ Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ:OCZ) tanked 40 percent after warning of sharply lower quarterly revenue. Separately, the company named director Ralph Schmitt as its new President and Chief Executive Officer.

* Tesoro Corporation (NYSE:TSO) tumbled 5.6 percent after advocacy group, Consumer Watchdog, called on the state of California to block Tesoro’s proposed purchase of BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP)’s Carson refinery and Arco stations.

* Alabama Power, a unit of Georgia-based power company The Southern Company (NYSE:SO), agreed to buy wind power from Kansas-based wind developer TradeWind Energy LLC, according to a Reuters report.

* Amarin Corporation plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:AMRN) closed 5.6 percent lower after the company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would delay a decision on exclusivity for its blood-fat drug Vascepa.

* Satellite-radio broadcaster Sirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI) raised its full-year net subscriber growth forecast to 1.8 million from 1.6 million, helped by growth in auto sales.

* ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE) fell 7.7 percent after the company lowered its fiscal 2012 earnings guidance.

* Medical-device company Edwards Lifesciences Corp (NYSE:EW) agreed to acquire privately held Dutch company BMEYE B.V. for about $42 million.

* Ferro Corporation (NYSE:FOE) plunged 24 percent after the specialty chemical company late Tuesday lowered its full-year profit outlook. The company now expects to earn 7 to 12 cents per share in 2012 on an adjusted basis, down from its prior forecast of 14 to 17 cents per share.

* Electronics distributor Avnet, Inc. (NYSE:AVT) fell 4.3 percent after the company lowered its fiscal first-quarter earnings forecasts, citing lower sales. The Phoenix-based company expects first-quarter sales of $5.85 billion, down from an earlier forecast of $5.8 billion to $6.4 billion.

* Video chip maker Ambarella, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMBA) closed 1 percent higher in its debut on Wednesday.

Hedge Fund News Update

* Apparel retailer The Wet Seal, Inc. (NASDAQ:WTSLA) has named Clinton Group nominee Lynda Davey as chairman of the board. Davey will replace the recently departed Harold Kahn. Activist investor Clinton Group Inc. owns about 7 percent of The Wet Seal, Inc. (NASDAQ:WTSLA).

* Peter Muller, the founder of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)’s proprietary-trading desk that is being spun off as a stand-alone hedge fund later this year, has raised more than $500 million from Blackstone Group LP, according to a Bloomberg report.

* Fahad Roumani’s JPS Credit Opportunities Fund, launched last year with $350 million (218 million pounds) from JP Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), is up 14 percent this year.

* Tokyo-based hedge fund Japan Advisory will have the opportunity to challenge insider trading charges at a hearing on October 17, the country’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency, said on Wednesday.

* Deepak Narula’s New York-based Metacapital Management LP is up 34 percent this year, almost 10 times the industry average, according to a Bloomberg report.

Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Wednesday, October 10, 2012

* Aeropostale, Inc. (NYSE:ARO) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Standpoint Research with a target price of $18.

* Corporate Office Properties Trust (NYSE:OFC) was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $25.

* Continental Resources, Inc. (NYSE:CLR) was lifted to “neutral” from “sell” by analysts at Capital One.

* Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE:D) was upgraded to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Credit Suisse with a target price of $59.

* Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co. with a target price of $58.

* E I Du Pont De Nemours and Co (NYSE:DD) was lifted to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $29.50.

* Flushing Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:FFIC) was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at FBR Capital with a target price of $18.50.

* M&T Bank Corporation (NYSE:MTB) was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Credit Suisse with a target price of $109.

* NxStage Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ:NXTM) was lifted to “market perform” from “underperform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co. with a target price of $13.

* QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) was upgraded to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Exane BNP Paribas.

* Qlik Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:QLIK) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $28.

* Shutterfly, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFLY) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Canaccord Genuity.

* Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at William Blair.

* Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) was lifted to “buy” from “outperform” by analysts at Credit Agricole with a target price of $80.

* AvalonBay Communities, Inc. (NYSE:AVB) was cut to “outperform” from “top pick” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets with a target price of $158.

* Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX) was lowered to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley.

* Capital & Counties Properties LLC (LON:CAPC) was downgraded to “sector perform” from “outperform” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets with a target price of $12.64.

* Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc (NYSE:CCE) was cut to “outperform” from “buy” by analysts at Credit Agricole with a target price of $36.

* Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. (NYSE:DO) was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at FBR Capital.

* Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) was lowered to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Bank of America.

* Johnson Controls, Inc. (NYSE:JCI) was cut by analysts at Bank of America from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating with a target price of $37.

* Kinross Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:KGC) was downgraded to “underweight” from “equal weight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley.

* Owens Corning (NYSE:OC) was lowered to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase.

* SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW) was cut by analysts at Bank of America from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating with a target price of $9.

* Tim Hortons Inc. (USA) (NYSE:THI) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $56.

* Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE:TYC) was lowered to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Credit Suisse with a target price of $30.

* WABCO Holdings Inc. (NYSE:WBC) was cut by analysts at Robert W. Baird from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating with a target price of $59.

* Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) was downgraded to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $3.