Post Market Update
• US: Dow: 13093.20 (-1.05%), S&P 500: 1414.20 (-0.94%), NASDAQ: 2982.13 (-1.26%)
• Europe: CAC: 3492.46 (0.49%), DAX: 7363.85 (0.38%), FTSE: 5868.55 (0.11%).
• Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4460.10 (0.06%), China: 2117.05 (0.60%), Hong Kong: 22111.33 (1.31%), India: 5697.70 (0.93%), Japan: 9051.22 (1.15%).
• Metals: Gold: 1675.20 (-2.35%), Silver: 30.86 (-4.31%), Copper: 3.48 (-1.98%)
• Energy: Crude Oil: 84.86 (-2.86%), Natural Gas: 3.55 (-3.92%)
• Commodities: Corn: 7.39 (-1.53%), Soya Bean: 15.26 (-2.13%), Wheat: 8.64 (-0.46%)
• Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2832 (-0.86%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6022 (-0.67%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 80.4300 (0.37%)
• 10 year US Treasury: 1.715% (-0.010)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets closed near the lows of the day on Friday amid investor nervousness ahead of next week’s presidential election. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped 139.46 points, or 1.05 percent, to close at 13,093.16. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) slid 13.39 points, or 0.94 percent, to end at 1,414.20, while the NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) declined 37.93 points, or 1.26 percent, to finish at 2,982.13. For the week, the Dow lost 0.11 percent, the S&P 500 eked out a gain of 0.16 percent, and the Nasdaq fell 0.19 percent.
Oil prices tumble: Crude prices declined on Friday after the U.S. government allowed foreign tankers to bring fuel to the Northeast, providing some relief to supply disruptions in the aftermath of super storm Sandy. Crude oil for December delivery slumped 2.9 percent, to settle at $84.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for December settlement lost 2.2 percent to $105.75 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
• Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) slid 1.4 percent after it said fourth-quarter operating results could be significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy.
• Hotel-reviews site Tripadvisor Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP) soared 19 percent after reporting strong quarterly earnings.
• Struggling grocery-store operator Supervalu Inc. (NYSE:SVU)’s Shaw’s Supermarkets unit will slash 700 jobs as part of efforts to reduce operating costs.
• Ralph Lauren Corp (NYSE:RL) said fiscal second-quarter profit fell to $213.7 million, or $2.29 a share, from $233.5 million, or $2.46, in the year-ago period. Revenue fell 2.2 percent to $1.86 billion. The company lowered its full-year revenue outlook.
• Fluor Corporation (NEW) (NYSE:FLR) closed 10 percent lower after posting weaker than expected quarterly earnings. Third-quarter profit came in at $145 million, or 86 cents per share, compared with $135 million, or 78 cents per share, in the same period last year. Revenue gained 18 percent to $7.1 billion. The engineering company also forecast full-year earnings that trailed estimates.
• Digital River, Inc. (NASDAQ:DRIV) posted third-quarter results that beat Wall Street estimates, but the company’s current-quarter earnings guidance trailed analysts’ expectations.
• Agribusiness group Cargill Inc. said its chief financial officer, Sergio Rial, is stepping down at the end of the month.
• Boston Beer Co Inc (NYSE:SAM) reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts’ estimates, helped by a jump in volume and higher pricing that offset some increased spending on advertising and promotional efforts.
• Car rental company Avis Budget Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CAR) ended 4.3 percent lower after posting a weaker than expected quarterly profit and providing a weak guidance due to the slowdown in Europe. Third quarter earnings excluding items stood at $1.46 a share, on revenue of $2.17 billion. Analysts had expected a profit of $1.51 on revenue of $2.17 billion.
• Shutterfly, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFLY) reported quarterly results that beat Street forecasts. The online photography and personalized products company’s reported smaller than expected fourth quarter loss of 29 cents a share. Revenue stood at $98.5 million, up 29 percent from the year-ago period, and ahead of Street estimates for $91.6 million.
• Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), the nation’s second-largest carrier by traffic, said its October system traffic gained 0.3 percent despite the cancellation of more than 3,500 flights due to Hurricane Sandy.
• Car dealer Penske Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:PAG) said third quarter earnings excluding special items fell to 60 cents per share from 50 cents per share. Revenue gained 17 percent to $3.4 billion. Analysts had forecast earnings of 57 cents on revenue of $3.27 billion.
• Dispenser maker AptarGroup, Inc. (NYSE:ATR) slid 7 percent after third-quarter profit fell 15 percent and the company provided fourth-quarter per-share earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates.
Hedge Fund News Update
• Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner, Pierre-Henri Flamand, will close his hedge-fund Edoma Partner, two years after launch due to lackluster performance, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
• Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC (NYSE:OZM) reported better than expected third quarter earnings and said it will pay a third-quarter dividend of 12 cents a share.
• Hedge funds managers slashed their bullish oil bets to the lowest level in almost three months as U.S. crude stockpiles increased, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
• Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP has hired Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) credit trader Wayne Leslie, according to a report in the Bloomberg News.
• The Ohio Public Employees’ Retirement System has hired Bridgewater Associates’ Pure Alpha Major Markets fund and Visium Asset Management’s Balanced Fund to oversee $180 million and $100 million respectively.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Friday, November 02, 2012
• Big 5 Sporting Goods Corporation (NASDAQ:BGFV) was lifted to “strong buy” from “buy” by analysts at Needham & Company with a target price of $15.
• BCE Inc. (USA) (NYSE:BCE) was upgraded to “hold” from “reduce” by analysts at TD Securities.
• CBOE Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBOE) was raised to a “market perform” rating from a “underperform” rating by analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.
• ICON plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:ICLR) was lifted to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Robert W. Baird with a target price of $30.
• Iconix Brand Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ICON) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Benchmark Co.
• Mednax Inc. (NYSE:MD) was raised to “hold” from “sell” by analysts at Deutsche Bank.
• MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD) was lifted from “neutral” to “underweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase.
• Oil States International, Inc. (NYSE:OIS) was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Raymond James.
• Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK) was raised to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase.
• Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) was lifted to “buy” from “underperform” by analysts at Credit Agricole.
• Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. (NYSE:SKT) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Jefferies Group.
• Symmetry Medical Inc. (NYSE:SMA) was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Benchmark Co. with a target price of $12.
• Trueblue Inc (NYSE:TBI) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Deutsche Bank.
• Team Health Holdings LLC (NYSE:TMH) was upgraded to “outperform” from “sector perform” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets.
• United States Cellular Corporation (NYSE:USM) was raised to “market perform” from “underperform” by analysts at Raymond James.
• Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE:WPI) was lifted to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at Piper Jaffray.
• Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAWW) was downgraded to “overweight” from “equal weight” by analysts at Stephens.
• Active Network Inc (NYSE:ACTV) was lowered to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $9.
• American Capital Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACAS) was cut to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at UBS AG.
• Berry Petroleum Company (NYSE:BRY) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Wunderlich with a target price of $40.
• EPL Oil & Gas Inc (NYSE:EPL) was lowered by analysts at Hunter Securities from a “buy” rating to an “accumulate” rating.
• Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) was cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Jefferies Group.
• Fluor Corporation (NEW) (NYSE:FLR) was downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Robert W. Baird with a target price of $62.
• The Greenbrier Companies (NYSE:GBX) was lowered by analysts at Sterne Agee from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating.
• Glu Mobile Inc. (NASDAQ:GLUU) was cut to “buy” from “strong buy” by analysts at Needham & Company with a target price of $5.
• Hercules Technology Growth Capital Inc (NASDAQ:HTGC) was downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Robert W. Baird with a target price of $11.
• Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) was lowered by analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating with a target price of $46.
• Mechel OAO (ADR) (NYSE:MTL) was cut to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase.
• Swift Energy Company (NYSE:SFY) was downgraded to “accumulate” from “buy” by analysts at Global Hunter Securities.
• Boston Beer Co Inc (NYSE:SAM) was lowered by analysts at Credit Agricole from a “buy” rating to a “outperform” rating.
• Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) was cut to “sell” from “neutral” by analysts at Goldman Sachs.