Post Market Update
Stocks that were in focus in U.S. trading on Friday include: Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (TSE:AEZ) (NASDAQ:AEZS), Tower International Inc (NYSE:TOWR), News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRZO), Chicopee Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBNK), Hampden Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBNK) and NTS Realty Holdings LP (NYSEAMEX:NLP).
- US: Dow: 12937.65 (-1.21%), S&P 500: 1402.43 (-1.10%), NASDAQ: 2960.31 (-0.86%)
- Europe: CAC: 3620.25 (-1.49%), DAX: 7612.39 (-0.57%), FTSE: 5925.37 (-0.49%)
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4671.30 (0.50%), China: 2233.25 (1.22%), Hong Kong: 22666.59 (0.21%), India: 5908.35 (0.65%), Japan: 10395.18 (0.69%).
- Metals: Gold: 1655.90 (-0.47%), Silver: 29.98 (-0.88%), Copper: 3.59 (-0.32%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 90.80 (-0.08%), Natural Gas: 3.47 (1.67%)
- Commodities: Corn: 6.94 (0.36%), Soya Bean: 14.17 (0.25%), Wheat: 7.78 (0.84%)
- Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3222 (0.08%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6154 (-0.33%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 86.0850 (-0.22%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.701% (-0.036)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets finished lower on Friday amid ongoing worries that a U.S. budget deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” would not get done before the year-end deadline. On the economic front, pending home sales climbed 1.7 percent in November, to its highest level in more than 2-1/2 years, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) fell for the fifth consecutive session, shedding 158.20 points, or 1.2 percent, to end at 12937.65, while the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) dipped 15.67 points, or 1.1 percent, to finish at 1,402.43. The NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) slid 25.59 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 2,960.31.
Oil prices fall: Oil prices declined on Friday after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed crude supplies for the week ended December 21 fell by 600,000 barrels, compared to analysts’ expectations of a 2 million-barrel drawdown. Crude oil for February delivery dropped 0.1 percent, to settle at $90.8 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for February settlement fell 0.2 percent to $110.55 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS)
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) moved higher after British publisher Pearson Plc said it will buy a 5 percent stake in the bookstore operator’s Nook Media unit for $89.5 million. After the deal, Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) will own around 78.2 percent of Nook Media and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will own about 16.8 percent. Separately, Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) expects holiday sales to trail forecasts, and said its Nook business is unlikely to meet prior full-year 2013 projections. Shares of Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) were up 4.3 percent at $14.97 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.
Canadian drug maker Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (TSE:AEZ) (NASDAQ:AEZS)soared in trade after it announced an agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding a special protocol assessment for an upcoming phase 3 trial of its endometrial cancer treatment. Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (TSE:AEZ) (NASDAQ:AEZS) said its intravenous drug AEZS-108 does less damage to healthy tissue than existing treatments. Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (TSE:AEZ) (NASDAQ:AEZS)’s NASDAQ-listed shares rose 13.8 percent to $2.47.
Tower International Inc (NYSE:TOWR)
Auto parts maker Tower International Inc (NYSE:TOWR) has sold its South Korean operations to privately owned auto parts supplier, Seco, for about $47 million in cash. As part of the deal, Tower International Inc (NYSE:TOWR) said Seco will also assume debt of about $98 million. Shares of Tower International Inc (NYSE:TOWR) closed at $8.07 on Friday.
News Corp (NASDAW:NWSA)
News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA)’s Fox Sports Media Group has acquired Cleveland-based regional sports network SportsTime Ohio for about $230 million. SportsTime Ohio has broadcast Cleveland Indians’ games for the last seven seasons. News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) has recently increased its focus on sports, and the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company last month agreed to buy 49 percent of the Yes Network, the cable network that carries New York Yankees games. News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) shares fell 1.1 percent to $24.61.
Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)
Oil and gas giant Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) announced two new natural gas discoveries off the Western coast of Australia, bringing its total discoveries in the country to 19 since mid 2009. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) said its Australian unit is the operator and has a 50 per cent interest in the two permit areas, while Anglo-Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) (LON:RDSA) is the other stakeholder. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) is spending $86 billion to build two LNG plants, Gorgon and Wheatstone, in the Exmouth Plateau area of the Carnarvon Basin.
Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRZO)
Houston-based Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRZO) has agreed to sell its interest in the Huntington Field in North Sea to Iona Energy Inc. (CVE:INA) for $184 million in cash. The company expects $116 million in net proceeds after it repays debt and other and transaction related costs. Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRZO) said the sale should close before the end of January. Shares of Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRZO) closed at $20.63 a share.
Chicopee Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBNK) and Hampden Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBNK) are weighing sales amid pressure from Dallas-based hedge fund Clover Partners LP, which owns stakes in both the regional lenders, according to a Bloomberg report. Chicopee Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBNK) and Hampden Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBNK) have been in talks with investment banks about finding buyers, after the activist investor publicly urged them to consider sales, Bloomberg reported citing people with knowledge of the situation. Chicopee Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBNK) climbed 5.9 percent to $15.30 in New York following the report, while Hampden Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBNK) advanced 4.1 percent to $15.20.
NTS Realty Holdings LP (NYSEAMEX:NLP)
NTS Realty Holdings LP (NYSEAMEX:NLP) has agreed to be taken private by its Chairman J.D. Nichols and Chief Executive Officer Brian F. Lavin, four months after they made their initial offer, in a deal that values the diversified real-estate company at about $83 million. The final offer price of $7.50 a share represents a 43 percent premium to their offer in August. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of next year. Shares of NTS Realty Holdings LP (NYSEAMEX:NLP) jumped 8.3 percent.