- US: Dow: 12992.41 (0.08%), S&P 500: 1369.25 (0.12%), NASDAQ: 2979.47 (0.44%)
- Europe: CAC: 3453.99 (0.36%), DAX: 6887.63 (0.55%), FTSE: 5927.91 (0.21%).
- Asia-Pacific:Australia: 4262.72 (-0.11%),China: 2451.86 (0.20%),Hong Kong: 21568.73 (1.63%),India: 5375.50 (1.79%),Japan: 9722.52 (0.91%)
- Metals: Gold: 1788.80 (0.78%), Silver: 37.09 (4.41%), Copper: 3.91 (0.70%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 107.97 (-0.54%), Natural Gas: 2.52 (-3.19%)
- Commodities: Corn: 6.52 (1.09%), Soya Bean: 13.06 (0.95%), Wheat: 6.58 (1.82%)
- Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3448 (0.38%), GBP/USD: 1.5875 (0.32%), USD/JPY: 80.4700 (-0.16%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.908% (-0.017)
Market News Update
Dow, S&P 500 at highest levels since 2008: U.S. stocks inched higher Tuesday, as investors weighed a small pullback in oil prices and improving consumer confidence against a worse-than-expected drop in durable goods orders. After starting out in the red, the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) added 32 points, or 0.2%, to sit above 13,000. The S&P 500 (SPX) added 5 points, or 0.4%, and the NASDAQ (COMP) rose 22 points, or 0.7%.
Consumer confidence hits 1-year high in February: U.S. consumer confidence scaled a one-year high in February as optimism about the labor market offset concerns over rising gasoline prices, an independent survey showed on Tuesday. The Conference Board said its index of consumer attitudes increased to 70.8 this month – the highest reading since February last year – from an upwardly revised 61.5 in January. http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/28/10529148-consumer-confidence-hits-1-year-high-in-feb
DurableGoodsDemandFallsMost in 3 Years; Down 4%: New orders forU.S.manufactured goods fell in January by the most in three years as demand fell across the board from machinery to aircraft, suggesting the economy started the year on weaker footing than expected.
Home prices are lowest since 2002: National home prices fell 4% in the fourth quarter of 2011, putting them back at levels last seen in mid-2002. That’s the fifth consecutive annual loss and the biggest decline since 2008, when markets were in free fall and prices plummeted more than 18%. http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/28/real_estate/home_prices/index.htm?iid=HP_LN
Euro Strengthens on Speculation ECB Bank Loans Will Bolster Risk Optimism: The euro strengthened against the dollar and yen on speculation a European Central Bank allotment of three-year loans to banks tomorrow will bolster investor appetite for the region’s assets.
Company News Update
- Shares of Apple (AAPL) rose to an all-time high above $530 a share Tuesday. The company is expected to announce the iPad 3 at a “special event” inCalifornia next week.
- Yahoo (YHOO) has demanded licensing fees from Facebook for use of its technology, the companies said on Monday, potentially engulfing social media in the patent battles and lawsuits raging across much of the tech sector.
- AutoZone (AZO) beat the Street on Tuesday by posting a 13% rise in fiscal second-quarter net income thanks in part to a healthy same-store sales jump of nearly 6%.
- Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) served up a 28% increase in fourth-quarter profit on stronger same-store sales and new shops that opened in markets abroad.
- Tenet Healthcare Inc (N) the No. 3 U.S. hospital chain, posted a quarterly net loss on Tuesday, but raised its earnings forecast for 2012.
- Cablevision Systems (CVC) suffered a slightly worse-than-expected 47% plunge in fourth-quarter earnings due to the absence of certain assets, but the cable company lost fewer video subscribers than had been feared.
- A $34 million drop in quarterly expenses helped Office Depot (ODP) swing to a fourth-quarter profit despite flat sales that just matched expectations.
- Shares of Apollo Group (APOL) tumbled after the operator of for-profit University of Phoenix issued a downbeat outlook for 2012, forecasting sluggish growth in new degree enrollment during the second quarter. Shares of fellow for-profit college DeVry (DV) also fell.
- Dreamworks Animation (DWA) is slated to report corporate results after the bell Tuesday. Dreamworks is expected to post earnings of 32 cents per share.
- Micron Technology Inc. (MU) jumped 6 percent after buying Intel Corp. (INTC)’s stake in two wafer factories as the companies expand their venture. Intel advanced 1.5 percent.
- Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN) fell 5 percent to $33.58. The natural gas producer cut its 2012 production estimate and reported fourth-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share, missing the average analyst estimate of 47 cents.
- LightSquared Inc., the wireless company backed by Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners, said Sanjiv Ahuja resigned as chief executive officer and will remain as chairman. Falcone has been appointed to the board, LightSquared said.
Hedge Fund News Update
- Hedge fund assets under management could reach $2.13 trillion at the end of the year, as investors put more cash into the industry and managers report positive returns, a survey conducted by Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) showed on Monday. The survey, which covered more than 600 institutional investors representing $1.04 trillion of hedge fund assets, found that investors expect their hedge fund portfolios to return 8.6 percent in 2012, down from 11 percent last year.
- Fortress Investment Group LLC, the asset manager formerly run by Daniel Mudd, said fourth-quarter profit fell 60 percent as hedge fund fees declined. Pretax distributable earnings, which exclude some compensation costs and other items, were $50 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with $125 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier, the New York-based company said today in a statement.
- Fund manager John Paulson who runs the investment company Paulson & Co., the largest shareholder of the Hartford Financial Services Group, demanded thatHartford should break itself into two companies in order to unlock value for its shareholders.
- Three cooperating witnesses could be called to testify at the insider-trading trial later this year of Doug Whitman, a northern California hedge-fund manager accused of trading on inside information about Google Inc. (GOOG) and other technology companies, prosecutors said Monday.
- A former hedge fund analyst and a consultant charged with insider trading have been fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC announced Monday that final judgments were entered in aNew Yorkfederal court last week against Jason Pflaum and Walter Shimoon.
- Aje Saigal’s Nuvest Capital is set to launch its maiden fund in early July, seeded by the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. Saigal worked at GIC for more than 30 years, joining the sovereign fund at its inception in 1981 and remaining there until earlier this year, when he left to found Nuvest.
- Winton Capital Management, the computer-driven hedge fund manager, which runs about $26bn in total and made about 5% last year, according to Trustnet, took €2.52bn into its regulated funds, according to Lipper statistics.
- New York-based quant hedge fund firm Two Sigma Investments has seen one of its funds reach the $100 million mark. The fund launched last summer with its first sale to investors on July 1, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday.