Post Market Update
• US: Dow: 12836.90 (0.38%), S&P 500: 1391.03 (0.23%), NASDAQ: 2926.55 (0.34%)
• Europe: CAC: 3477.36 (0.44%), DAX: 7184.71 (0.16%), FTSE: 5752.03 (0.07%).
• Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4369.50 (-0.37%), China: 2030.32 (1.05%), Hong Kong: 21524.36 (1.38%), India: 5614.80 (0.78%), Japan: 9222.52 (0.87%).
• Metals: Gold: 1728.20 (0.27%), Silver: 33.35 (1.28%), Copper: 3.50 (-0.58%)
• Energy: Crude Oil: 87.38 (0.73%), Natural Gas: 3.90 (1.85%)
• Commodities: Corn: 7.45 (-0.20%), Soya Bean: 14.08 (-0.32%), Wheat: 8.59 (-0.09%)
• Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2825 (-0.08%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.5953 (-0.17%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 82.5250 (1.03%)
• 10 year US Treasury: 1.680% (0.014)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end higher: U.S. markets closed higher on Wednesday, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, but some mixed economic reports capped gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) added 48.38 points, or 0.38 percent, to end at 12,836.89. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 3.22 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 1,391.03. The NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 9.87 points, or 0.34 percent, to finish at 2,926.55. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) and NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) closed higher for the fourth consecutive session.
Oil prices rise: Oil prices gained in a choppy session on Wednesday amid a cease-fire that ended eight days of fighting in the Gaza strip and eased concerns over supply risks in the Middle East. Crude oil for December delivery added 0.7 percent, to settle at $87.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for December settlement climbed 1.1 percent to $111.02 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
• A U.S. bankruptcy court has approved the sale of Residential Capital LLC’s mortgage servicing and origination businesses to Ocwen Financial Corporation (NYSE:OCN) and Walter Investment Management Corp (NYSEAMEX:WAC).
• Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) fell in trade today after analysts’ at Sandler O’Neill lowered their fourth-quarter earnings estimates on both banks.
• Vivus, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) surged 13 percent after insurer Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) cleared the way for coverage of its Qsymia weight-loss pills.
• Storage device maker Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ:STX) rose 0.5 percent on renewed rumors that the company is a takeover target for private equity firms.
• Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) (TYO:7203) is recalling about 150,000 Tacoma midsize pickups from the 2001 to 2004 model years because of a possible defect in the spare tire carrier.
• St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ) plunged 12 percent on Wednesday, a day after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration released a report criticizing the company’s testing of its Durata line of implantable defibrillator leads, a development that analysts said could further reduce sales of the product.
• Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE:FLO) jumped 3.4 percent amid speculation that the maker of Nature’s Own bread and snack cakes is a strong contender to buy some or all of Hostess Brands.
• Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE:MUR) said drilling at its Opale Marine-1 well off the shore of the Republic of the Congo was unsuccessful and has been abandoned.
• Exercise apparel maker Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) fell 2.6 percent after reaching a deal with clothing maker Calvin Klein Inc. and one of its licensees to settle patent lawsuits related to yoga pants.
• Chip maker MIPS Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:MIPS) rallied 7 percent after receiving an unsolicited $75 million buyout proposal from Ceva, Inc. (NASDAQ:CEVA).
• Oil and gas explorer Bill Barrett Corporation (NYSE:BBG) fell 2.9 percent after a fire and explosion in a Utah gas field injured two employees and forced the shutdown of a compressor station.
• NTS Realty Holdings LP (NYSEAMEX:NLP) said its chairman and chief executive have raised their offer to take the real-estate company private. Chairman J.D. Nichols and Chief Executive Officer Brian F. Lavin are now offering $7.30 per limited-partnership unit.
• Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ:SQNM) said an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists committee recommended that its cell-free fetal DNA testing be more commonly used.
• Semiconductor company Memsic, Inc. (NASDAQ:MEMS) soared in trade today after receiving an unsolicited takeover offer from private-equity firm IDG Capital Partners, valuing the company at about $97 million.
• Amira Nature Foods Ltd (NYSE:ANFI) jumped 5.5 percent after the food company reported higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings and revenue.
• Banner Corporation (NASDAQ:BANR) will replace Novatel Wireless Inc (NASDAQ:NVTL) in the S&P SmallCap 600 after the close of trading November 27.
• Tredegar Corporation (NYSE:TG) announced a special dividend of 75 cents per share, payable on December 14 to shareholders as of December 7.
• Chinese social media company YY Inc. (NASDAQ:YY) climbed 7.7 percent in its Wall Street debut after pricing its initial public offering at $10.50, the low end of its expected range.
Hedge Fund News Update
• Hedge fund redemption requests in November neared a three-year high amid lackluster performance in an uncertain market environment, data from fund administrator SS&C GlobeOp’s forward redemption indicator showed.
• The Brevan Howard Master Fund http://www.valuewalk.com/2012/11/brevan-howard-flagship-hedge-fund-down-0-32-in-october/was down 0.32 percent in October, while the Brevan Howard Systematic Trading Master Fund and the Brevan Howard Commodities Strategies Master Fund, were down 4.15 percent and 2.65 percent respectively last month.
• Kynikos Associates founder Jim Chanos said mining company Vale SA (NYSE:VALE) and Brazilian state-owned oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) were good stocks to short, according to a Reuters report.
• The average hedge fund http://www.valuewalk.com/2012/11/hedge-funds-trail-sp-500-by-860-basis-points-in-2012-goldman-sachs/is up 5.9 percent year-to-date compared to a 14.5 percent gain in the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX), according to the Goldman Sachs hedge fund trend monitor.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Wednesday, November 21, 2012
• Anadarko Petroleum Coeporation (NYSE:APC) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Societe Generale with a target price of $84.
• The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Jefferies Group with a target price of $87.
• ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) was raised to a “buy” rating from a “hold” rating by analysts at Societe Generale with a target price of $68.
• Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE:DVN) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Societe Generale with a target price of $65.
• Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Nomura with a target price of $57.
• First Republic Bank (NYSE:FRC) was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Jefferies Group with a target price of $39.
• GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) was lifted to “neutral” from “sell” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $24.
• Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Jefferies Group with a target price of $72.
• J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Oppenheimer with a target price of $30.
• The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) was lifted to “market perform” from “underperform” by analysts at BMO Capital Markets with a target price of $25.
• Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) was upgraded to a “hold” from “sell” by analysts at Jefferies Group with a target price of $83.
• Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT) was raised to “neutral” from “underweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $44.
• Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) was