- US: Dow: 12432.61 (-0.14%), S&P 500: 1292.09 (-0.03%), NASDAQ: 2716.07 (0.19%)
- Europe: CAC: 3199.98 (-0.15%), DAX: 6179.21 (0.43%), FTSE: 5662.42 (-0.15%).
- Asia:Australia: 4181.00 (-0.16%),China: 2275.01 (-0.05%),Hong Kong: 19095.38 (-0.30%),India: 4831.25 (-0.61%),Japan: 8385.59 (-0.79%),Korea: 1864.57 (1.02%),Singapore: 2743.66 (-0.13%),
- Metals: Gold: 1651.70 (0.74%), Silver: 30.20 (1.02%), Copper: 3.65 (3.00%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 101.85 (0.97%), Natural Gas: 2.67 (-3.86%)
- Agriculture: Corn: 6.12 (-6.14%), Soya Bean: 11.74 (-1.94%), Wheat: 5.98 (-6.67%).
- Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2826 (0.9373%), GBP/USD: 1.5333 (0.0277%), USD/JPY: 76.7418 (-0.1464%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.921% (0.017)
Market News Update
U.S. stocks little changed: U.S. stocks were little changed, after paring an early slump in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as disappointing data on jobless claims overshadowed optimism about a drop in borrowing costs at debt auctions in Europe. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/12/us-markets-stocks-idUSTRE7AO0B420120112
U.S. jobless claims rise more than forecast: More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, raising the possibility that a greater-than-usual increase in temporary holiday hiring boosted December payrolls. Jobless claims climbed by 24,000 to 399,000 in the week ended Jan. 7, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/12/news/economy/unemployment_benefits/index.htm?iid=HP_LN
Retail sales rise less than forecast: Sales atU.S. retailers rose less than projected in December, confirming forecasts for a slowdown in consumer spending at the start of 2012. The 0.1 percent gain in purchases last month followed a 0.4 percent increase in November, according to figures from the Commerce Department released today inWashington.
Crude prices rally: Oil rebounded on Thursday, up more than 2 percent after Nigeria’s main oil union threatened to shut output and as the euro rallied, thanks largely to solid debt auctions by Spain and Italy. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204409004577156650035640394.html?mod=WSJ_Markets_LEFTTopStories
Foreclosure filings hit 4-year low: The number of U.S. homes that received a foreclosure filing fell to a four-year low in 2011 as a slowdown in processing hit the market, RealtyTrac said in a report on Thursday. Foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, slid by 34 percent in 2011, the lowest level since 2007. http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/12/real_estate/foreclosures/index.htm?iid=HP_LN
Company News Update
- Williams-Sonoma Inc. (WSM), the owner of the namesake, Pottery Barn and West Elm home-goods chains, fell the most in more than three years after saying profit may be less than it previously forecast because of holiday discounts.
- Sears Holdings (SHLD) shares plummeted after The Wall Street Journal reported CIT Group will not finance loans to supplies awaiting payments from the retailer.
- Target (TGT) unveiled a new $5 billion share buyback authorization that will kick in once its current $10 billion program ends in early 2012. The company also said it plans on boosting its annual dividend to $3 or more by 2017.
- Pepsi Beverages Co. (PEP) has agreed to pay $3.1 million to settle federal charges of race discrimination for using criminal background checks to screen out job applicants.
- Chevron Corp. (CVX) retreated 2.3 percent after oil-refining profit slumped.
- Fertilizer producers CF Industries Holdings Inc. (CF) and Mosaic Co. (MOS) declined at least 1.4 percent after reports showed higher- than-expectedU.S. corn and soybean inventories.
- Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, the mostly government-owned U.K. bank, Thursday unveiled a broad-ranging restructure to prune back large parts of its investment banking operation, which will see the unit shed a further 3,500 jobs over a three-year period.
- Home Depot (HD) said it plans to hire more than 70,000 seasonal workers for the spring season, the busiest selling period for home improvement retailers, in line with its hiring last year.
Hedge Fund News Update
- Manhattan-based hedge fund Starboard Value LP, the largest shareholder at Wausau Paper Corp., is turning up the heat on the company. In a letter released on Thursday, the fund said the company’s board of directors needs to consider a potential sale of the entire company or at least the company’s paper segment. The company, Starboard said, is “deeply undervalued.”
- Citi today announced that it has been appointed by Dorchester Capital Advisors International, LLC to provide fund administration and custody for Dorchester Capital International Limited, its fund of hedge funds. This new mandate extends a long-standing relationship with Citi.
- Central clearing of OTC derivatives will add 1%-3% to costs and could lead hedge funds to scale back operations and trade. While they await further regulatory guidance, changes are on hold for most.
- Credit Suisse is offering its hedge fund clients off-the-shelf products that allow traders to replicate hypothetical gains made by betting against European stock indices that include equities covered by euro zone short selling bans.
- The two main hedge funds run by Citadel LLC CEO Ken Griffin delivered returns of 20.4% last year, recouping most of the losses his clients endured in 2008, according to a source familiar with the firm’s results.
- Hedge fund managers expect to earn higher base salaries in 2012, but are bracing themselves for smaller bonuses, according to a report by HedegFundCompensation.com. The report said the average cash compensation for hedge fund managers in 2011 was $311,000, a notch above what they took home a year earlier.
- The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission proposed limits on banks’ proprietary trading and hedge fund investments under the Dodd-Frank Act’s Volcker rule.
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