Stock market news

Market Levels

•    US:  Dow: 12951.80 (-0.11%), S&P 500: 1407.52 (-0.14%), NASDAQ: 2996.69 (-0.18%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3580.48 (0.39%), DAX: 7435.12 (-0.00%), FTSE: 5869.04 (-0.04%).
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4503.60 (-0.62%), China: 1975.14 (0.78%), Hong Kong: 21799.97 (0.15%), India: 5889.25 (0.31%), Japan: 9432.46 (-0.27%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1695.80 (-1.47%), Silver: 32.81 (-2.82%), Copper: 3.66 (-0.08%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 88.50 (-0.66%), Natural Gas: 3.85 (-0.77%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 7.52 (-0.36%), Soya Bean: 14.55 (0.12%), Wheat: 8.56 (-0.49%)
•    Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3095 (-0.29%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6102 (-0.02%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 81.8350 (-0.41%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.605% (-0.016)

Market and Economy News Update

U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets closed lower in lackluster trading on Tuesday as investors remained cautious over the looming “fiscal cliff.” The ongoing budget talks have dominated market action in recent weeks, and analysts say a deal before the year-end could trigger a rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) fell 14 points, or 0.1 percent, snapping a three-day gain. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) and the NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) declined 0.2 percent.

Oil prices fall: Oil prices declined on Tuesday as concerns about an impasse in U.S. budget talks outweighed ongoing worries about the political instability in the Middle East. Crude oil for January delivery lost 0.7 percent, to settle at $88.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for January settlement slid 1.1 percent to $109.73 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Stocks in Focus

•    Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) reported fiscal second-quarter loss of $5.4 million, or 3 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1.8 million, or 4 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue came in at $101.3 million, up from $67 million a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the online radio company would have broken even on a per-share basis. Analysts had projected earnings of a penny a share on $117.1 million in revenue.
•    Mattress Firm Holding Corp (NASDAQ:MFRM) reported third quarter adjusted earnings of 47 cents a share, on revenue of $277.4 million. Analysts had had estimated earnings of 46 cents a share and $271.59 million in sales. The bedding retailer lowered its full-year earnings and revenue guidance.
•    Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) soared 14 percent on news that the company acquired exclusive U.S. TV distribution rights to The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)’s movies.
•    Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) said it has acquired San Francisco-based video chat startup OnTheAir for an undisclosed amount.
•    Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI), the owner of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains, fell 10 percent after the company reported lower than expected preliminary fiscal second-quarter profit and cut its guidance for the year.
•    General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) is planning to sell its Swiss consumer lending business, and UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) is one of at least two possible bidders in a deal that could fetch up to 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.6 billion), according to a Reuters report.
•    Beleaguered game maker Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) rose 1.3 percent after it reached an agreement with Synacor Inc (NASDAQ:SYNC) to make Zynga game currency available to pay-TV and high-speed Internet providers.
•    Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB) and Electro Scientific Industries, Inc. (NASDQA:ESIO) became the latest companies to declare a special dividend ahead of the new year.
•    Home-improvement-products retailer The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) has voluntarily recalled a ceramic mug saying that it posed fire hazard.
•    Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) dropped more than percent on news that the Chinese Government was increasing scrutiny of Macau casino operators.
•    Medical device provider Edwards Lifesciences Corp (NYSE:EW) gained 5.8 percent after forecasting 2013 earnings that topped most Street estimates.
•    DSW Inc. (NYSE:DSW) moved higher after private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners disclosed it had been building a stake in the company over the past few quarters, leading to speculation that the shoe retailer is a takeover target.
•    Oral care products maker Young Innovations, Inc. (NASDAQ:YDNT) rose in trade today after it agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Chicago-based Linden Capital Partners for $314 million, or $39.50 a share in cash.
•    Syntel, Inc. (NASDAQ:SYNT) fell 3.7 percent after the information technology services provider slashed its full-year earnings guidance.
•    Alternative payments provider Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:UEPS) plummeted 59 percent after the company said the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating it over possible bribes to the South African government officials in connection with securing a contract to provide social welfare and benefits payments.
•    Real-estate investment trust Parkway Properties Inc (NYSE:PKY) shed 3.7 percent after it agreed to acquire office towers in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina for $227.9 million as it seeks to expand its foot-hold in the region.

Hedge Fund News Update

•    Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) fell 3.8 percent after activist investor Carl Icahn dropped his bid to buy the heavy duty vehicle maker as shareholders tendered fewer shares than he had hoped for.
•    BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) has reduced its stake in Man Group PLC (LON:EMG) from 9.32 percent in March to below 5 percent, according to a regulatory filing.
•    Industry consolidation and increased regulatory oversight are the top two challenges facing the Asian hedge fund industry in the next one to two years, according to a poll conducted by Ernst and Young.
•    Hedge-fund manager Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC (NYSE:OZM) saw assets under management increase $200 million since November 1 to $32 billion as of December 1. Och-Ziff’s four funds gained between 0.36 percent and 1.03 percent last month.

Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Tuesday, December 04, 2012

•    Francesca’s Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:FRAN) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Jefferies Group with a target price of $38.
•    Gold Fields Limited (NYSE:GFI) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG.
•    Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT) was raised to an “outperform” rating from a “market perform” rating by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co.
•    Midstates Petroleum Company Inc (NYSE:MPO) was lifted to a “focus stock” from “outperform” by analysts at Howard Weil with a target price of $23.
•    Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ:OMER) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Needham & Company with a target price of $10.
•    Public Storage (NYSE:PSA) was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald with a target price of $160.
•    Saputo Inc. (TSE:SAP) was lifted to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at BMO Capital Markets with a target price of $55.
•    SBA Communications Corporation (NASDAQ:SBAC) was upgraded to “top pick” from “outperform” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets with a target price of $85.
•    Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE:SFD) was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at BB&T Capital Markets.
•    Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NYSE:WFM) was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Northcoast Research with a target price of $107.

•    The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE:BK) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Sandler O’Neill.
•    Career Education Corp. (NASDAQ:CECO) was lowered to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co.
•    Cott Corporation (NYSE:COT) was cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus with a target price of $10.
•    Callon Petroleum Company (NYSE:CPE) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Canaccord Genuity with a target price of $5.50.
•    Demand Media Inc (NYSE:DMD) was lowered by analysts at Goldman Sachs from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating with a target price of $9.
•    Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) was cut to “underperform” from “buy” by analysts at Bank of America.
•    Exa Corp (NASDAQ:EXA) was downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Robert W. Baird with a target price of $12.
•    PNM Resources, Inc. (NYSE:PNM) was lowered by analysts at Jefferies Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating with a target price of $21.50.
•    Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE:RGC) was cut to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Macquarie with a target price of $15.
•    Sovran Self Storage Inc (NYSE:SSS) was downgraded to “sell” from “hold” by analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald with a target price of $64.
•    Stratasys, Inc. (NASDAQ:SSYS) was lowered by analysts at Dougherty & Co from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating.
•    The Timken Company (NYSE:TKR) was cut to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Longbow Research.