Stock market news

Market Levels

•    US:  Dow: 13155.10 (0.62%), S&P 500: 1417.39 (0.24%), NASDAQ: 2978.04 (-0.38%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3605.61 (0.11%), DAX: 7517.80 (-0.22%), FTSE: 5914.40 (0.22%)
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4551.80 (0.94%), China: 2061.79 (1.58%), Hong Kong: 22191.17 (-0.26%), India: 5907.40 (-0.40%), Japan: 9527.39 (-0.19%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1705.20 (-0.02%), Silver: 33.14 (0.04%), Copper: 3.66 (0.04%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 86.01 (-0.29%), Natural Gas: 3.55 (-0.14%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 7.36 (-2.03%), Soya Bean: 14.72 (-1.27%), Wheat: 8.59 (-0.29%)
•    Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2929 (0.24%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6037 (0.04%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 82.4350 (0.04%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.627% (0.041)

Market and Economy News Update

U.S. markets end mostly higher: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) closed higher following an upbeat government jobs report, while the NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) finished in the red, dragged by a sharp decline in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). On the economic front, the consumer sentiment index unexpectedly fell to 74.5 in December, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey. Economists were expected a reading of 82.4. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) gained 0.6 percent and the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) edged 0.3 percent higher, while the NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) dropped 0.4 percent, weighed down by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), which fell 2.6 percent for the day. For the week, the Dow gained 1 percent, the S&P 500 finished up 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq posted a weekly loss of 1.1 percent.

Oil prices decline: Oil prices lost ground in a choppy session on Friday amid investor concerns about the continued uncertainty surrounding the budget talks in the U.S. Crude oil for January delivery dropped 0.3 percent, to settle at $86.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for January settlement added 0.2 percent to $107.20 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Stocks in Focus

•    Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) climbed in late trading after Bloomberg reported that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) might be interested in acquiring the daily deals site.
•    Shoe Carnival, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCVL) fell in trade after declaring a share special cash dividend of $1 per share. Quarterly dividend was unchanged at 5 cents a share.
•    Department store chain Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) gained 1.3 percent after its board raised the share-repurchase authorization by $1.5 billion.
•    Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) added 0.9 percent after agreeing to pay $320 million to manufacturing partner Globalfoundries Inc. to reduce purchases of wafers used for chip manufacturing. The company is trying hard to cut costs amid slowing chip demand and internal financial pressures.
•    Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS) moved higher amid speculation that it could be acquired by Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO). The rumors gained ground after Cisco CEO John Chambers said his company had gone too long without making a major acquisition.
•    Analogic Corporation (NASDAQ:ALOG) fell in trade after reporting weaker-than-expected first-quarter earnings.
•    Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE:AVP) jumped 5.3 percent amid market speculation that Coty Inc. may make another offer for the company.
•    Jefferies Group, Inc. (NYSE:JEF) edged higher after it accelerated its quarterly dividend payout of 7.5 cents a share.
•    Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) surged 5.3 percent after Susquehanna analyst Deepak Mathivanan said unique visitors to the user review site rose 18 percent year-on-year in November, compared to 11 percent October.
•    Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) fell 0.7 percent after the Dallas-based carrier said traffic and load factor in November declined from last year.
•    Casino operators closed lower despite gambling revenue in Nevada increasing 1.9 percent year-on-year to $978.8 million in October. Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN), MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) and Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ:CZR), all closed in the red.
•    Amarin Corporation plc (NASDAQ:AMRN) lost ground after it announced plans to begin hiring a sales force to independently launch its cholesterol-reducing fish-oil pill Vascepa, disappointing investors who had hoped the biotech company would rope in a partner.
•    Comtech Telecomm. Corp. (NASDAQ:CMTL) tanked 6.5 percent after first-quarter earnings fell 41 percent on weaker sales. The New York-based maker of advanced communications systems also lowered its full-year profit forecast.
•    Medical device company Abiomed, Inc. (NASDAQ:ABMD) closed lower after a panel of experts recommended its miniature heart pump Impella remain designated as a Class 3 device, rather than the lower-risk Class 2 category that it had hoped for.
•    The Geo Group, Inc. (NYSE:GEO) moved higher after the company’s board authorized the private-prison operator to go ahead with plans to convert into a real estate investment trust. The company also declared a special dividend of $5.68 a share.
•    Specialty pharmaceutical company Biodel Inc (NASDAQ:BIOD)soared 7 percent after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted “orphan” drug status for its glucagon drug.
•    Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:MTN) gained 1.3 percent after it agreed to buy two Midwest ski areas, Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan, for a total of $20 million in cash.

Hedge Fund News Update

•    The pension fund for London’s public transportation body is close to investing with hedge funds Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC (NYSE:OZM) and Arrowgrass Capital Partners, The Telegraph reported on Friday.
•    An Indian court granted UK-based The Children’s Investment Fund, a shareholder in Coal India Limited (NSE:COALINDIA), four weeks’ time to respond to the federal government, which has denied allegations of interfering with the pricing of coal.
•    Nelson Saiers, the chief investment officer of New York-based Alphabet Management LLC, has been promoted to full partner and co-managing member, according to a report in Bloomberg News.
•    Paulson & Co.’s Advantage fund fell about 3.6 percent for the month of November, and is down more than 17 percent on the year.

Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Friday, December 07, 2012

•    Acadia Realty Trust (NYSE:AKR) was lifted to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at BMO Capital Markets with a target price of $30.
•    athenahealth, Inc (NASDAQ:ATHN) was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Leerink Swann.
•    DST Systems, Inc. (NYSE:DST) was raised to a “buy” rating from a “neutral” rating by analysts at Sterne Agee with a target price of $71.
•    Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (NASDAQ:MPEL) was lifted to a “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase with a target price of $20.
•    Syngenta AG (NYSE:SYT) was upgraded to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase.
•    Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd. (NYSE:TSM) was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Credit Suisse.

•    AvalonBay Communities, Inc. (NYSE:AVB) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald with a target price of $142.
•    Bio-Reference Laboratories Inc (NASDAQ:BRLI) was lowered to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Macquarie with a target price of $25.
•    DragonWave, Inc. (NASDAQ:DRWI) was cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Canaccord Genuity with a target price of $2.25.
•    Epoch Holding Corp (NASDAQ:EPHC) was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Raymond James.
•    Gulfport Energy Corporation (NASDAQ:GPOR) was lowered by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating.
•    InterDigital, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDCC) was cut to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Stephens with a target price of $52.
•    Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) was downgraded to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley.
•    Overland Storage, Inc. (NASDAQ:OVRL) was lowered by analysts at Roth Capital from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating.
•    Prudential Financial Inc (NYSE:PRU) was cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Sandler O’Neill.
•    Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE:RGC) was downgraded to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $16.
•    Universal American Corporation (NYSE:UAM) was lowered by analysts at Goldman Sachs from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating with a target price of $8.
•    UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) was cut to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Sidoti.
•    Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR) was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at BMO Capital Markets with a target price of $16.