Post Market News: T, ZNGA, JCP, FCX, VRA, LULU, GRMN, SIRI, SBUX, AKAM, are among tickers in focus for December 6th 2012.
• US: Dow: 13074.00 (0.30%), S&P 500: 1413.32 (0.29%), NASDAQ: 2989.27 (0.52%)
• Europe: CAC: 3601.65 (0.31%), DAX: 7534.54 (1.06%), FTSE: 5901.42 (0.16%)
• Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4509.30 (-0.25%), China: 2029.24 (-0.13%), Hong Kong: 22249.81 (-0.09%), India: 5930.90 (0.52%), Japan: 9545.16 (0.80%).
• Metals: Gold: 1701.80 (0.47%), Silver: 33.11 (0.48%), Copper: 3.64 (-1.14%)
• Energy: Crude Oil: 86.26 (-1.84%), Natural Gas: 3.64 (-1.57%)
• Commodities: Corn: 7.51 (-0.82%), Soya Bean: 14.92 (0.86%), Wheat: 8.62 (0.23%)
• Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2969 (0.77%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6049 (0.26%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 82.3750 (-0.05%)
• 10 year US Treasury: 1.584% (-0.003)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end higher: U.S. markets closed higher in a choppy session on Thursday as investors await monthly government jobs report at the end of the week. On the economic front, jobless claims fell 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 370,000 in the week ended December 1, the Labor Department said today. Economists were expecting a reading of 380,000. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) edged 0.3 percent higher, while the NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) added 0.5 percent.
Oil prices fall: Oil prices declined on Thursday to their lowest level in three weeks after the ECB slashed its euro-area growth forecasts. Uncertainty about the U.S. budget negotiations also evoked investor concerns. Crude oil for January delivery lost 1.8 percent, to settle at $86.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for January settlement slid 1.6 percent to $107.07 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
• Online game maker Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) moved higher after it filed for a Nevada gaming license, its first step towards entering the U.S. gambling market.
• Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAM) rose 10 percent after the internet technology company entered into a deal with AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) to co-sell their services, and provide Akamai’s content to AT&T customers.
• Satellite radio company Sirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI) closed 0.9 percent higher after its board approved a $2 billion buyback program, and announced a special dividend of 5 cent a share.
• Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) posted first quarter earnings excluding one-time items of 4 cents a share, on revenue of $85.9 million. Analysts were expecting the network-security technology company to earn 3 cents a share on $83.7 million in revenue.
• Metallurgical coal producer Walter Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WLT) surged 5.3 percent after Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper reported that BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) (NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT) is considering a cash bid for the company.
• Apparel retailer The Men’s Wearhouse, Inc. (NYSE:MW) fell 2.7 percent after it lowered its guidance for the year and said same-store sales in the U.S. and Canada declined in November.
• J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) moved higher amid investor hopes that the retailer would form a real estate investment trust to acquire its assets, following the lead of Canadian food retailer, Loblaw Companies Limited (TSE:L), which announced similar plans on Thursday.
• Safeway Inc. (NYSE:SWY) moved higher after the second-largest U.S. grocery store chain accelerated its regular quarterly cash dividend to December from January.
• Broadcom Corporation (NASDAQ:BRCM) added 3.2 percent after the chip maker raised its fourth-quarter sales forecast, and said its profit margins will be better than previously expected.
• Investment manager Epoch Holding Corp (NASDAQ:EPHC) soared 26 percent after it agreed to be acquired by TD Bank Group for $668 million, or $28 per share in cash.
• Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NBL) gained 3.4 percent after the Houston-based company said it expects fourth-quarter sales volumes from continuing operations to be higher than the top end of its forecast.
• Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) closed higher after CEO David Novak, speaking at an investor’s conference, said he sees very solid sales growth in its restaurants in China.
• H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB) jumped 5 percent after the tax-services provider posted smaller than expected fiscal second-quarter loss. Revenues also topped Street expectations.
• Women’s accessories maker Vera Bradley, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRA) lost ground as the company forecast a disappointing fourth quarter and lowered its full-year revenue outlook.
• Pork producer Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE:SFD) closed marginally higher on Thursday after second quarter adjusted earnings topped estimates, but revenue was slightly short of consensus.
• Delcath Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:DCTH) tumbled in trade after it sought approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a narrower use than initially anticipated for a new liver cancer drug.
• Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) closed higher after the athletic apparel maker reported better than expected third quarter earnings and revenue.
• Align Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALGN) fell 2 percent after the braces maker said it will cut jobs and shuffle management as part of an organizational change. The company also forecast fourth-quarter profit and revenue to be at the lower end of its previous downbeat guidance.
• Personal-navigation devices maker Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN) gained 5.7 percent after Standard & Poor’s said it will add the Switzerland-based company to the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) index after the close of trading on Tuesday, December 11. Garmin will replace printing company R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (NASDAQ:RRD).
• Medical products maker Stryker Corporation (NYSE:SYK) raised its quarterly dividend by 25 percent to 26.5 cents per share from 21.25 cents per share, and also boosted its share repurchase program by $405 million to a total of $1 billion.
• Transportation services company UTi Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ:UTIW) closed lower after posting weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings.
Hedge Fund News Update
• Computer-driven hedge funds, Winton Capital and Cantab Capital, with a view to keeping their strategies as secret as possible, and cutting back on sizeable commissions, have acquired membership seats at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Reuters reported on Thursday.
• Diamondback Capital Management LLC told investors it will close down after an unexpected flood of redemption requests.
• Hedge funds gained 0.33 percent in November, and are up 2.37 percent on the year, according to the Dow Jones Credit Suisse Core Hedge Fund Index.
• Connecticut-based Astenbeck Fund, one of the world’s largest commodity hedge funds, which appeared headed for a second straight year of losses, managed to return to profit just before the year end, according to a Reuters report.
• The average emerging-market hedge fund returned 1.3 percent in November, beating the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX)’s 0.6 percent return, according to new data from eVestment’s HFN Research.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Thursday, December 06, 2012
• Apartment Investment & Management Co. (NYSE:AIV) was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $28.
• Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc (NYSE:ARE) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $75.
• Boston Properties, Inc. (NYSE:BXP) was raised to a “buy” rating from a “neutral” rating by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $120.
• Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (TSE:CP) (NYSE:CP) was lifted to a “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus with a target price of $138.
• Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Dahlman Rose with a target price of $120.
• EverBank Financial Corp (NASDAQ:EVER) was raised to “strong buy” from “outperform” by analysts at Raymond James with a target price of $17.
• Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST) was lifted to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at William Blair.
• General Growth Properties Inc (NYSE:GGP) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $22.
• Ocwen Financial Corporation (NYSE:OCN) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods with a target price of $40.
• Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) was lifted to a “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Robert W. Baird with a target price of $62.
• Southern Copper Corp (NASDAQ:SCCO) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Citigroup with a target price of $41.
• Simon Property Group, Inc (NYSE:SPG) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $170.
• Silver Standard Resources Inc. (NASDAQ:SSRI) was lifted to “buy” from “accumulate” by analysts at Global Hunter Securities.
• AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) was downgraded to “perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Oppenheimer with a target price of $400.
• CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. (NYSE:CBL) was lowered to “sell” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG.
• Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc (NYSE:FCX) was cut to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Goldman Sachs with a target price of $38.
• InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG) (NYSE:IHG) was downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Credit Suisse.
• JDS Uniphase Corp (NASDAQ:JDSU) was lowered by analysts at Raymond James from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating.
• Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET) was cut to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Barclays Capital with a target price of $37.
• Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) was downgraded to “average” from “above average” by analysts at Caris & Co. with a target price of $60.
• Plains Exploration & Production Company (NYSE:PXP) was lowered by analysts at Capital One from an “add” rating to a “neutral” rating.
• Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (NYSE:SNI) was cut to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Goldman Sachs with a target price of $65.
• Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE:WRI) was downgraded to “sell” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG.
• W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE:GWW) was lowered by analysts at UBS AG from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating with a target price of $202.