Stock market news

Market Levels

•    US:  Dow: 12965.60 (-0.46%), S&P 500: 1409.46 (-0.47%), NASDAQ: 3002.20 (-0.27%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3566.59 (0.26%), DAX: 7435.21 (0.40%), FTSE: 5871.24 (0.08%).
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4531.50 (0.57%), China: 1959.77 (-1.04%), Hong Kong: 21767.85 (-1.21%), India: 5870.95 (-0.15%), Japan: 9458.18 (0.13%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1721.10 (0.49%), Silver: 33.76 (1.44%), Copper: 3.66 (0.23%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 89.09 (0.20%), Natural Gas: 3.85 (-0.77%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 7.54 (0.27%), Soya Bean: 14.53 (1.04%), Wheat: 8.60 (-0.23%)
•    Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3051 (-0.53%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6090 (-0.46%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 82.2450 (-0.27%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.622% (0.007)

Market and Economy News Update

U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets closed lower on Monday, weighed by a weaker-than-expected U.S. manufacturing data and continued stalemate over the nation’s fiscal policy. U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly contracted in November to 49.5, according to the Institute for Supply Management, falling to its lowest level since July 2009. Economists had expected a reading of 51.3. A reading below 50 indicates contraction. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) lost 59.98 points, or 0.46 percent, to close at 12,965.60. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 6.72 points, or 0.47 percent, to finish at 1,409.46. The NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) slid 8.04 points, or 0.27 percent, to end at 3,002.20.

Oil prices rise: Oil prices gained for the third straight session on Monday, helped by strong global economic data, but prices were off day’s high as U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly contracted in November. Crude oil for January delivery added 0.2 percent, to settle at $89.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for January settlement fell 0.4 percent to $110.85 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Stocks in Focus

•    Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) gave up early morning gains to end lower despite reporting better-than-expected November U.S. vehicle sales, while rival General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) fell 1.4 percent after reporting weaker-than-expected sales.
•    Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) has accelerated dividend payments ahead of likely increases in taxes in 2013. The software maker said its board has approved an “accelerated” dividend totaling 18 cents a share, payable on December 21 to stockholders of record on December 14, for its fiscal 2013 second, third and fourth quarters.
•    Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) closed higher after the drug maker started a new trial of its experimental Alzheimer’s drug
•    Supervalu Inc. (NYSE:SVU) soared 13 percent after New York-based private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP indicated its willingness to pursue multiple options, including buying the troubled grocery chain’s entire business, according to The Wall Street Journal.
•    Host Hotels and Resorts Inc (NYSE:HST) said its European joint venture acquired five hotels in Paris and Amsterdam from Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS)’s Whitehall Real Estate Funds for about 440 million euros ($574 million).
•    Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney has rejoined the board of directors of Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR).
•    Health Management Associates, Inc. (NYSE:HMA) tumbled 5.7 percent after the CBS News magazine “60 Minutes” aired a story criticizing the hospital operator’s patient admission policies.
•    Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE:ADM) has raised its takeover offer for Australia’s Graincorp Ltd (ASX:GNC) by 3.8 percent, and said that it has increased its stake in the Sydney-based grain handler.
•    Drug major Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) edged 0.3 percent higher after announcing plans to shrink certain segments of its U.S. sales force as part of a cost-cutting drive.
•    Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM), the largest U.S. gold producer, said President and Chief Operating Officer, Gary Goldberg will succeed Richard O’Brien on March 1 as Chief Executive Officer.
•    Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR) closed 3 percent higher after analysts at Lazard Capital raised their price target on the specialty coffee maker’s stock to $56 from $42 a share.
•    Packaging products maker Sonoco Products Company (NYSE:SON) shed 1 percent after naming COO M. Jack Sanders as its new president and CEO.
•    Diagnostic company Myriad Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MYGN) fell 3.2 percent after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a case over whether Myriad Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MYGN) has the right to patent two genes linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
•    Mortgage insurer MGIC Investment Corp. (NYSE:MTG) gained in trade today after winning approval from Freddie Mac to sell coverage out of a new subsidiary.
•    Continental Resources, Inc. (NYSE:CLR) surged 4.2 percent after reporting encouraging results from an initial test well in the Three Forks Reservoir of the Bakken shale region.
•    Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCMP) plunged 8 percent after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration extended by three months its review of the Bethesda-based company’s Amitiza drug to treat opioid-induced constipation in patients with chronic, non-cancer pain.
•    SunCoke Energy, Inc. (NYSE:SXC) fell in trade today after the coal producer deferred plans for an initial public offering of an energy partnership.

Hedge Fund News Update

•    Hedge funds managers increased their net-long positions across commodities in the week ended November 27 by the most since August, as signs that China is slowly bottoming-out outweighed concern about an impasse in U.S. budget talks, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.
•    Hedge funds gained 0.13 percent for the month through November 28 compared to a drop of 0.16 percent in the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX), according to data compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
•    Steve Kuhn, the head of fixed-income trading at Pine River Capital Management LP said that mortgage hedge funds are benefiting from decreased competition from Wall Street trading desks, according to a report in Bloomberg News.
•    Dyal Capital Partners, the private equity fund established by Neuberger Berman LLC that specializes in investing in hedge funds, has closed to new money after raising $1.28 billion, according to a Reuters report.
•    Jon Paulson’s Advantage Plus fund is down 19 percent through the end of October, and is one of the top ten worst performers of 2012 among the universe of funds tracked by HSBC Plc.

Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Monday, December 03, 2012

•    Agrium Inc. (NYSE:AGU) (TSE:AGU) was lifted to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $122.
•    Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX) was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at JMP Securities with a target price of $9.
•    Continental Resources, Inc. (NYSE:CLR) was raised to a “buy” rating from a “hold” rating by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus with a target price of $83.
•    CubeSmart (NYSE:CUBE) was lifted to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Robert W. Baird with a target price of $16.
•    Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE:DLR) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at ISI Group.
•    Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) was raised to “overweight” from “equal weight” by analysts at Barclays Capital with a target price of $69.
•    Eaton Vance Corp (NYSE:EV) was lifted to “neutral” from “sell” by analysts at Goldman Sachs with a target price of $29.50.
•    Finisar Corporation (NASDAQ:FNSR) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Needham & Company with a target price of $18.
•    International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT) was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $19.
•    NiSource Inc. (NYSE:NI) was lifted to “overweight” from “equal weight” by analysts at Barclays Capital with a target price of $27.
•    Old National Bancorp (NYSE:ONB) was upgraded to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Macquarie with a target price of $13.
•    Thoratec Corporation (NASDAQ:THOR) was raised to “conviction buy” from “buy” by analysts at Goldman Sachs.
•    The WhiteWave Foods Co (NASDAQ:WWAV) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus with a target price of $18.
•    Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) was upgraded to “overweight” from “equal weight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley with a target price of $54.

•    Advantest Corp (NYSE:ATE) was downgraded to “underperform” from “outperform” by analysts at Credit Suisse.
•    Bankrate Inc (NYSE:RATE) was lowered to “sector perform” from “outperform” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets with a target price of $13.
•    CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CF) was cut to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $227.
•    Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CNK) was downgraded to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $30.
•    Dreamworks Animation Skg Inc (NASDAQ:DWA) was lowered by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating.
•    Edison International (NYSE:EIX) was cut to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein with a target price of $50.
•    Emulex Corporation (NYSE:ELX) was downgraded to “sell” from “neutral” by analysts at Goldman Sachs with a target price of $6.
•    Frontier Communications Corp (NASDAQ:FTR) was lowered by analysts at Macquarie from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating with a target price of $3.80.
•    Janus Capital Group Inc. (NYSE:JNS) was cut to “sell” from “neutral” by analysts at Goldman Sachs with a target price of $7.
•    Kenexa Corporation (NYSE:KNXA) was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at JMP Securities.
•    Myriad Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MYGN) was lowered by analysts at Goldman Sachs from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating.
•    Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY) was cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $80.
•    Partnerre Ltd (NYSE:PRE) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $84.
•    QLogic Corporation (NASDAQ:QLGC) was lowered by analysts at Goldman Sachs from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating.
•    Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE:RGC) was cut to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $17.
•    Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) was downgraded to “sell” from “hold” by analysts at Canaccord Genuity with a target price of $10.
•    The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM) was lowered by analysts at Stephens from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating.
•    Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (NYSE:TEVA) was cut to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $41.