Stock market news

Post market news: Stocks that were in focus in U.S. trading on Thursday include: Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC), Hanwha Solarone Co Ltd (NASDAQ:HSOL), Deckers Outdoor Corp (NASDAQ:DECK), The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX), Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT), Tenet Healthcare Corporation (NYSE:THC), WSP Holdings Limited (ADR) (NYSE:WH), Noble Corporation (NYSE:NE), Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOR), Amyris Inc (NASDAQ:AMRS) and Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. (NYSE:LVB).


Market Levels

•    US:  Dow: 13096.30 (-0.14%), S&P 500: 1418.84 (-0.07%), NASDAQ: 2985.91 (-0.14%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3674.26 (0.59%), DAX: 7655.88 (0.26%), FTSE: 5954.30 (0.00%)
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4648.00 (0.28%), China: 2205.90 (-0.60%), Hong Kong: 22619.78 (0.35%), India: 5870.10 (-0.60%), Japan: 10322.98 (0.90%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1663.70 (0.18%), Silver: 30.24 (0.68%), Copper: 3.60 (0.10%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 90.87 (-0.12%), Natural Gas: 3.38 (0.30%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 6.91 (-0.25%), Soya Bean: 14.14 (-0.32%), Wheat: 7.72 (-0.29%)
•    Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3243 (-0.15%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6107 (0.19%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 86.0650 (0.68%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.729% (-0.023)


Market and Economy News Update

U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets recovered from lows made earlier in the session, but still finished lower on Thursday following news that the House of Representatives will meet on Sunday evening to resume budget talks. On the economic front, the consumer confidence index fell to 65.1 in December from a downwardly revised 71.5 in November, according to the Conference Board. And new home sales rose at its fastest pace in two and a half years in November, the Commerce Department said today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) fell for the fourth consecutive session, 18.28 points, or 0.14 percent, to end at 13,096.31, while the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) dipped 1.73 points, or 0.12 percent, to finish at 1,418.10. The NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) slid 4.25 points, or 0.14 percent, to close at 2,985.91.

Oil prices edge lower: Oil prices declined in a choppy session on Thursday amid concerns that the looming tax increases and spending cuts could push U.S. into a recession. Crude oil for February delivery dropped 0.1 percent, to settle at $90.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for February settlement fell 0.1 percent to $110.99 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.


Stocks in Focus


Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC)

Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC) moved higher after expanding its share repurchase program. Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC) announced that its board has approved an additional $15 million in stock buybacks. The gun-maker also said it has bought back the $20 million that was authorized under a buyback program unveiled on December 6. Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC)’s shares are down 22 percent this month in the wake of fears that President Barack Obama would push for new restrictions following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.


Hanwha Solarone Co Ltd (NASDAQ:HSOL)

Hanwha Solarone Co Ltd (NASDAQ:HSOL) said it has reached an agreement with the Bank of Beijing for access to up to 3 billion yuan ($481 million) of credit over the next 12 months. Drawdown of specific amount is subject to approval procedures of the bank, Hanwha Solarone Co Ltd (NASDAQ:HSOL) said today in a statement on its website. The Shanghai-based Hanwha Solarone Co Ltd (NASDAQ:HSOL) is a unit of South Korea’s Hanwha Group.


Deckers Outdoor Corp (NASDAQ:DECK)

Deckers Outdoor Corp (NASDAQ:DECK) gained in trade today amid investor optimism that the winter storm hitting north-east U.S. might boost demand for its Ugg boots. Separately, analysts at Sterne Agee forecast improved sales and margin for Deckers Outdoor Corp (NASDAQ:DECK) in the second half of 2013. Shares of Deckers Outdoor Corp (NASDAQ:DECK) have dropped 54 percent this year, largely due to concerns that shoppers have switched from Ugg sheepskin boots to other leather styles.


The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX)

Theme park and entertainment company SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., majority-owned by private equity giant The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX), has filed with the U.S. regulators to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering of its common shares. The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) acquired SeaWorld when it agreed to buy Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (EBR:ABI)’s amusement-park business in 2009. The company is expected to go public in early 2013, and the IPO will be managed by Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) and Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC). Post the IPO, The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) will continue to own most of SeaWorld’s voting right.


Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT)

Managed-care provider Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT) said it has terminated its agreements with Tenet Healthcare Corporation (NYSE:THC)’s six southern California hospitals after the two companies failed to arrive at a new contract. Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT) said Tenet Healthcare Corporation (NYSE:THC)’s refusal to negotiate a new contract that better reflected current statewide market conditions led to the termination. Shares of Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT) shed 1.3 percent to close at $24.50.


WSP Holdings Limited (ADR)

WSP Holdings Limited (ADR) (NYSE:WH) reported third quarter net loss of $1.11 per ADS, compared to a loss of 81 cents per ADS. Revenue for the quarter fell to $141.28 million from $188.97 million in the year-ago quarter. WSP Holdings Limited (ADR) (NYSE:WH) is a Chinese drilling equipment maker, and its shares tanked more than 10 percent on Thursday.


Noble Corporation (NYSE:NE)

Noble Corporation (NYSE:NE) expects to have the Noble Discover drillship, located offshore Alaska, ready for drilling by next year. The U.S. Coast Guard, during an inspection, had raised questions about the ship’s propulsion and safety management systems. Noble Corporation (NYSE:NE) said it is addressing the problems, and is hopeful that the ship will be ready before the Arctic drilling season begins in six months. Noble Corporation (NYSE:NE) closed 1.3 percent lower at $34.68.


Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOR)

Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOR) plunged in trade amid reports that Blue Cross Blue Shield had denied coverage of its top-selling drug, Acthar. Short-term bearish sentiment on the stock has grown, with heavy buying of January puts. Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOR)’ stock price nearly halved in September after Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) said it would limit payment for Acthar, which it found was “medically necessary” only for infant seizures.


Amyris Inc (NASDAQ:AMRS)

Industrial bio-fuels company Amyris Inc (NASDAQ:AMRS) announced the completion of a $42.25 million private placement of its common stock, and said the purpose-built industrial fermentation facility in Brazil has successfully begun production of its renewable farnesene brand, Biofene. Amyris Inc (NASDAQ:AMRS) shares tumbled more than 4 percent on Thursday.


Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. (NYSE:LVB)

Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. (NYSE:LVB) said it has terminated a tentative agreement reached earlier this year to sell its band-instrument division to investors led by two of its board members following a 17-month-long review of its strategic alternatives. Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. (NYSE:LVB), however, said it is still negotiating the potential sale of its leasehold interest in Steinway Hall building in New York City. Shares of Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. (NYSE:LVB) fell 4.5 percent to $21.51.