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Market Levels

•    US:  Dow: 12542.40 (-0.23%), S&P 500: 1353.78 (-0.13%), NASDAQ: 2836.94 (-0.35%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3382.40 (-0.52%), DAX: 7043.42 (-0.83%), FTSE: 5677.75 (-0.78%).
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4349.20 (-0.89%), China: 2030.29 (-1.22%), Hong Kong: 21108.93 (-1.58%), India: 5631.00 (-0.63%), Japan: 8829.72 (1.87%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1713.80 (-0.94%), Silver: 32.67 (-0.63%), Copper: 3.46 (0.26%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 85.45 (-1.01%), Natural Gas: 3.70 (-1.52%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 7.25 (-0.58%), Soya Bean: 14.02 (-1.20%), Wheat: 8.61 (-0.32%)
•    Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2783 (0.37%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.5861 (0.13%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 81.1800 (1.16%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.588% (-0.003)

Market and Economy News Update

U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets recovered from the lows of the session but still closed in negative territory on Thursday following a number of negative economic reports and turmoil overseas. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) slid 28.57 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 12,542.38, falling for the fourth-consecutive session. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) dropped 2.16 points, or 0.16 percent, to finish at 1,353.33. The NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) fell 9.87 points, or 0.35 percent, to end at 2,836.94.

Oil prices fall: Oil prices declined on Thursday amid investors concerns about disappointing earnings results and weak economic activity in the euro zone. Crude oil for December delivery slid 1 percent, to settle at $85.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for December settlement dropped 0.6 percent to $107.83 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Stocks in Focus

•    Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) reported third quarter earnings excluding items of 39 cents a share, on revenue of $13.7 billion. Analysts had forecast earnings of 40 cents a share on revenue of $13.9 billion.
•    The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) reported third quarter earnings excluding items of 63 cents per share, in line with estimates. Revenue increased 8 percent to $3.86 billion from $3.59 billion a year ago. Analysts were expecting revenue of $3.82 billion.
•    Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) reported fourth quarter earnings excluding one-time items of 6 cents a share, 3 cents above the average analysts’ estimate. Revenue came in at $1.65 billion, topping expectations for $1.58 billion.
•    Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) reported third quarter earnings of $3.63 billion, or $1.08 per share, up from $3.33 billion, or 96 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Net revenue rose 3.4 percent to $113.2 million. Analysts had projected earnings of $1.07 per share on net sales of $114 billion.
•    The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) fell 0.3 percent after the consumer products major said it is planning to trim more non-manufacturing jobs, on top of a continuing 10 percent reduction already announced.
•    Oil giant BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) (LON:BP) came off its highs to close 0.4 percent higher after agreeing to pay a record $4.5 billion fine to settle with the U.S. government over the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
•    Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR) reported a 49 percent jump in third quarter profit to $155.4 million, or 68 cents a share, from $104.5 million, or 43 cents a share, in the same period last year. Revenue rose 7.8 percent to $1.72 billion, while same-store sales grew 1.6 percent.
•    Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) today announced that it is planning to buy Cloupia, a privately held data center software company, for about $125 million.
•    McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) fell 0.7 percent after announcing that Jan Fields, president of its US business, will leave the company.
•    News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) is close to a deal to buy a minority stake in New York-based sports channel YES Network, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
•    Amarin Corporation plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:AMRN) jumped 5 percent following reports that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA) has emerged as the leading candidate to acquire the company.
•    Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) gained 2.6 percent after the media company’s earnings topped Street expectations. Excluding one-time items, earnings came in at $1.21 per share, 4 cents above the average analysts’ estimate.
•    Supermarket operator The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) has agreed to buy specialty pharmacy services provider Axium Pharmacy Holdings Inc for an undisclosed amount.
•    Children’s clothing store Children’s Place Retail Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLCE) fell 14 percent after posting sales that missed analysts’ estimates, and also lowering its full-year earnings forecast.
•    National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV) raised its quarterly dividend by 8.3 percent to 13 cents a share from 12 cents a share.
•    Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) reported an 11 percent rise in third quarter profit to $159.5 million, or 72 cents a share, from $144 million, or 63 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Operating margin increased to 11.2 percent from 10.8 percent.
•    Leap Wireless International, Inc. (NASDAQ:LEAP), the parent company of flat rate wireless carrier Cricket Communications, has named Jerry Elliott as president and chief operating officer.
•    Brady Corp (NYSE:BRC) reported third quarter earnings excluding items of 59 cents a share, 4 cents above the average analysts’ estimate. Sales came in at $337.6 million, trailing estimates of $340 million.
•    Schlumberger Limited. (NYSE:SLB) and oilfield equipment maker Cameron International Corporation (NYSE:CAM), both closed higher after the two companies said they would combine their subsea businesses.
•    Contract-drilling company Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (NYSE:HP) posted better than expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings amid double-digit revenue growth across its U.S. and international land operations segments.
•    ArcelorMittal (ADR) (NYSE:MT), the world’s largest steelmaker, agreed to sell its 50 per cent stake in South African miner Kalagadi Manganese for $447 million.
•    Video game retailer GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) posted better-than-expected third quarter profit amid a slowdown in sales, but said it expects the holiday season to produce strong fourth quarter numbers.
•    Resorts management company Bluegreen Corporation (NYSE:BXG) soared 56 percent after agreeing to be acquired by BFC Financial Corp. for $10 a share, or about $150 million in cash.
•    Teen-apparel retailer Hot  Topic, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOTT) jumped 6 percent after third quarter earnings rose 38 percent on higher revenues and improved same-store sales.
•    Veeco Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ:VECO) tumbled 7.5 percent after the company said it would delay filing its third quarter report.

Hedge Fund News Update

•    Paulson & Co. reduced its stakes in Delphi Automotive PLC (NYSE:DLPH) and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG), and added to shares of gold mining firm Gold Fields Limited (ADR) (NYSE:GFI) in the third quarter, according to a regulatory filing.
•    The Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board has hired former money manager Eric Nierenberg to oversee its hedge fund investments, according to a Reuters report.
•    Moore Capital Management LP, the hedge fund run by billionaire Louis Moore Bacon, and Lee Ainslie’s Maverick Capital Management LP increased their stake in Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), even as the board’s confidence in Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit was waning, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
•    Billionaire investor George Soros and Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC (NYSE:OZM) boosted their stakes in American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) in the third quarter, according to a regulatory filing.
•    Ricky Sandler’s Eminence Capital acquired a new position in ailing retailer J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), owning 1.17 million shares at the end of the third quarter, according to a filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
•    John Griffin’s Blue Ridge Capital increased its stake in fashion brand Ralph Lauren Corp (NYSE:RL) to 1.64 million shares in the third quarter, from 935,000 in the second quarter. But Lone Pine Capital and Viking Global reduced their positions in the retailer.

Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Thursday, November 15, 2012

•    Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) was lifted to “neutral” from “underperform” by analysts at Credit Suisse with a target price of $46.
•    Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BHI) was upgraded to “buy” from “underperform” by analysts at Credit Agricole with a target price of $51.
•    Cameron International Corporation (NYSE:CAM) was raised to a “buy” rating from a “hold” rating by analysts at Dahlman Rose with a target price of $61.
•    Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Citigroup with a target price of $62.
•    East West Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:EWBC) was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co.
•    Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) was raised to “buy” from “underperform” by analysts at Credit Agricole with a target price of $38.
•    Hot Topic, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOTT) was lifted to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $11.
•    MCG Capital Corporation (NASDAQ:MCGC) was upgraded to “hold” from “sell” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus.
•    Prudential Financial Inc (NYSE:PRU) was raised to “top pick” from “outperform” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets.
•    Spirit Airlines Incorporated (NASDAQ:SAVE) was lifted to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Raymond James with a target price of $21.
•    Triangle Capital Corporation (NASDAQ:TCAP) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus with a target price of $26.
•    Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) was raised to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $110.

•    Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (NYSE:AMP) was downgraded to “outperform” from “top pick” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets with a target price of $71.
•    Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE:COG) was lowered to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Societe Generale.
•    Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC) was cut to “sell” from “neutral” by analysts at Goldman Sachs with a target price of $11.
•    IAMGOLD Corporation (USA) (NYSE:IAG) was downgraded to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Credit Suisse with a target price of $12.
•    Moneygram International Inc (NYSE:MGI) was lowered by analysts at Credit Suisse from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating with a target price of $16.
•    Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ:PAYX) was cut to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Credit Suisse with a target price of $35.
•    Puma Biotechnology Inc (NYSE:PBYI) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at SunTrust.
•    Poseidon Concepts Corp (TSE:PSN) was lowered by analysts at BMO Capital Markets from an “outperform” rating to an “underperform” rating.
•    Teavana Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:TEA) was cut to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at William Blair.
•    Tri-Tech Holding, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRIT) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Brean Murray.
•    Tranzyme Inc (NASDAQ:TZYM) was lowered by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating.
•    Velti Plc (NASDAQ:VELT) was cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Needham & Company.
•    Walter Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WLT) was downgraded to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $31.