* US: Dow: 13575.40 (0.60%), S&P 500: 1461.40 (0.72%), NASDAQ: 3149.46 (0.45%)
* Europe: CAC: 3401.20 (-0.14%), DAX: 7305.21 (-0.23 %), FTSE: 5827.78 (0.03%).
* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4452.40 (0.31%), China: 2086.17 (0.00%), Hong Kong: 20907.95 (0.09%), India: 5787.60 (0.98%), Japan: 8824.59 (0.88%).
* Metals: Gold: 1796.50 (0.94%), Silver: 35.10 (1.18%), Copper: 3.79 (0.05%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 91.71 (4.05%), Natural Gas: 3.41 (0.32%)
* Commodities: Corn: 7.57 (0.03%), Soya Bean: 15.51 (1.29%), Wheat: 8.69 (-0.43%)
* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3019 (-0.86%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6193 (-0.70%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 78.4750 (-0.01%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 1.673% (0.059)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end higher: U.S. markets closed higher on Thursday, with the S&P 500 up for a fourth-straight session, after ECB president Mario Draghi reiterated the central bank’s commitment to its new bond-buying plan. Bank stocks were the biggest gainers in trade today with Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) all ending significantly higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) rallied 80.75 points, or 0.60 percent, to finish at 13,575.36. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) climbed 10.41 points, or 0.72 percent, to close at 1,461.40, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 14.23 points, or 0.45 percent, to end at 3,149.46.
Oil prices soar: Oil prices jumped on Thursday amid escalating tensions between Syria and Turkey. Turkey’s military strike inside Syria raised investor concerns about the security of oil supplies from the Middle East. Crude oil for November delivery gained 4.1
percent, to settle at $91.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for November settlement added 3.8 percent to $112.26 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
* Social gaming company Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) cut its third-quarter outlook and lowered its full-year guidance.
* Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS), all closed higher after reporting better than expected September same-store sales figures. Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS), Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) and The Buckle, Inc. (NYSE:BKE) ended lower after trailing analysts’ projections.
* MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) closed 3.7 percent higher following reports that Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) was considering making a counter-bid for the pre-paid wireless carriers. MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) agreed on Wednesday to a merger with Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE) (FRA:DTE)’s T-Mobile USA.
* Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has reached a settlement with the Association of American Publishers in a long-standing battle to create digital copies of books.
* Networking equipment company Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) has agreed to acquire privately-held virtual networking company vCider for an undisclosed amount. Separately, the tech company promoted executives Rob Lloyd and Gary Moore as co-presidents.
* Charles Schwab Corp (NYSE:SCHW) and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (NYSE:AMTD) are shutting down some of their European operations, amid a trading slowdown in the region, Reuters reported
* Coal stocks, including Arch Coal Inc (NYSE:ACI), Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. (NYSE:ANR) and Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU), all closed significantly higher following Mitt Romney’s support of the coal industry during last night’s Presidential debate, in which he told President Obama, “I like coal.”
* Analysts at Credit Suisse initiated coverage on Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR) and Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO) with an “outperform” rating
* Data integration software maker Informatica Corporation (NASDAQ:INFA) plunged the most in three months after reporting weaker-than-expected third quarter earnings and sales, amid challenges in European operations.
* Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is in talks with Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) to buy a majority stake in its commodities-trading unit, according to media reports on Thursday.
* Life insurance company Primerica, Inc. (NYSE:PRI) agreed to repurchase approximately 2.1 million shares from private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC for about $60 million.
* Plastic-packaging manufacturer Berry Plastics Group, Inc. (NYSE:BERY) ended 0.3 percent lower at $15.20 on its first day of trading on Wall Street.
* Private-equity firm Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ:CG) is selling its 3.7 percent stake in Indian housing finance major Housing Development Finance Corporation (NSE:HDFC) worth about $861 million, according to a Reuters report.
* Cable operator Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC) has inked a multi-year distribution agreement with The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS).
* Mexican cement maker Cemex SAB de CV (ADR) (NYSE:CX) jumped 4.8 percent after it said that it expects third quarter net sales to grow about 3 percent when adjusted for currency swings.
* Oil and gas company ZaZa Energy Corp (NASDAQ:ZAZA) has entered into an exclusivity agreement with an undisclosed company relating to the potential sale of its French arm.
* NII Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:NIHD) rallied 7.7 percent after naming Juan Figuereo as chief financial officer. Figuereo will replace Gokul Hemmady, who was recently named the company’s chief operating officer.
* Biosante Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:BPAX) declined 11 percent after agreeing to merge with generic drug maker ANI Pharmaceuticals Inc. in an all-stock deal.
* Health-care data processing services provider HMS Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:HMSY) slumped 14 percent after slashing its full-year earnings outlook.
Hedge Fund News Update
* Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC increased its stake in American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) last quarter. As of June 30, Third Point held 2.25 million shares of the New York-based insurer, according to a regulatory filing.
* Hedge funds gained 0.47 percent in September, according to the Dow Jones Credit Suisse Core Hedge Fund Index.
* Antoine Cornut, former credit trader at Deutsche Bank AG, is planning to start his own hedge fund, Camares Capital LLP, according to a Bloomberg report.
* Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. senior traders, Rishi Chadda and Cyrus Pouraghabagher, will start New York-based Kingsguard Advisors LP on November 1, with at least $50 million in initial capital from Investcorp.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Thursday, October 04, 2012
* Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) was raised to “neutral” from “sell” by analysts at MKM Partners.
* BCD Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd(ADR) (NASDAQ:BCDS) was lifted to “market perform” from “underperform” by analysts at Raymond James.
* Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE:ED) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Argus with a target price of $66.
* Edison International (NYSE:EIX) was raised to “overweight” from “equal weight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley with a target price of $52.50.
* Enbridge Inc (USA) (NYSE:ENB) was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG.
* Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (NYSE:HP) was upgraded to “neutral” from “underperform” by analysts at Zacks with a target price of $47.
* Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc (NYSE:IVR) was raised to “overweight” from “equal weight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley with a target price of $23.
* Prologis Inc (NYSE:PLD) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus with a target price of $40.
* Ryder System, Inc. (NYSE:R) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at SunTrust with a target price of $48.
* SBA Communications Corporation (NASDAQ:SBAC) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Citigroup with a target price of $74.
* Thor Industries, Inc. (NYSE:THO) was lifted to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Wedbush with a target price of $46.
* Thoratec Corporation (NASDAQ:THOR) was upgraded to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Wedbush.
* Annaly Capital Management, Inc. (NYSE:NLY) was downgraded to “underweight” from “equal weight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley with a target price of $17.
* ADTRAN, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN) was cut to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at UBS AG.
* American Capital Agency Corp. (NASDAQ:AGNC) was lowered to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley with a target price of $37.
* Aruba Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARUN) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Goldman Sachs with a target price of $23.
* Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (NYSE:BAH) was cut to “underperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co.
* CACI International Inc (NYSE:CACI) was downgraded to “underperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co.
* Con Way Inc (NYSE:CNW) was lowered to “underperform” from “buy” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $27.
* DCT Industrial Trust Inc. (NYSE:DCT) was cut by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating.
* EnCana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA) was downgraded to “sell” from “hold” by analysts at Deutsche Bank.
* HollyFrontier Corp (NYSE:HFC) was lowered to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at UBS AG.
* ICF International, Inc. (NASDAQ:ICFI) was cut by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co. from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating.
* Mantech International Corp (NASDAQ:MANT) was downgraded to “underperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co.
* MFA Financial, Inc. (NYSE:MFA) was lowered to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley with a target price of $9.50.
* NCI Inc (NASDAQ:NCIT) was cut by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co. from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating.
* NuVasive, Inc. (NASDAQ:NUVA) was downgraded to “underperform” from “outperform” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets.
* Polycom Inc (NASDAQ:PLCM) was lowered to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at UBS AG.
* Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) was cut by analysts at Argus from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating.