Mid-Day Market Report
- US: Dow: 12865.86 (0.50%), S&P 500: 1350.99 (0.62%), NASDAQ: 2926.21 (0.77%)
- Europe: CAC: 3384.55 (0.34%), DAX: 6738.47 (0.68%), FTSE: 5905.70 (0.90%).
- Asia: China: 2351.85 (-0.01%), Hong Kong: 20887.40 (0.50%), India: 5390.20 (0.16%), Japan: 8999.18 (0.58%)
- Metals: Gold: 1725.20 (-0.01%), Silver: 33.64 (0.09%), Copper: 3.84 (-0.63%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 100.14 (1.49%), Natural Gas: 2.43 (-1.98%)
- Commodities: Corn: 6.36 (0.59%), Soya Bean: 12.40 (0.85%), Wheat: 6.32 (0.32%)
- Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3211 (0.11%), GBP/USD: 1.5777 (0.13%), USD/JPY: 77.5300 (-0.10%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.9888% (0.002)
Market News Update
US markets rise after Greek vote: Wall Street posted steady gains Monday afternoon in response to progress in Europe’s lingering sovereign debt crisis as Greek lawmakers signed off on a key austerity package over the weekend. As of 12:49 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 47.49 points, or 0.37%, to 12848.49, the Standard & Poor’s 500 climbed 6.18 points, or 0.46%, to 1348.82 and the NASDAQ Composite advanced 17.48 points, or 0.60%, to 2921.33.
Obama unveils 2013 budget: President Obama unveiled a $3.8 trillion budget request Monday that hikes taxes on the rich, spends new money on infrastructure and education, but does little to reform the entitlement programs that pose the biggest long-term threat to the federal budget.
Europe welcomes Greek vote: Germany and the European Commission welcomed Greek approval of the austerity steps demanded for a financial lifeline, suggesting euro finance chiefs will pull Greece back from the brink when they meet in two days.
Crude rises to highest level in two weeks: Crude oil futures added to strong gains on Monday, trading above USD100-a-barrel amid growing tensions between Iran and Israel, while sentiment remained supported by the vote of a new austerity plan by Greek lawmakers. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in April traded at USD100.72 a barrel during U.S. morning trade, rallying 1.7%.
It earlier rose by as much 1.9% to trade at USD100.95 a barrel, the highest since January 31.
Company News Update
- Apple (AAPL), whose price hit $500 for the first time on Monday, could be the first company ever to reach a trillion dollar valuation. The tech giant’s valuation is now nearly halfway to the 10-figure mark, with speculation Apple will launch iTV later this year driving shares to new record highs.
- Apple (AAPL) has asked a federal court in California to block Samsung Electronics from selling its new Galaxy Nexus smartphones, alleging patent violations.
- Boeing (BA) said late Sunday that the final phase of wind tunnel testing on the new 737 MAX will begin next week, as carriers eagerly await the first aircraft shipments of its newest fuel-efficient jet.
- Vodafone is considering a bid for Britain’s Cable & Wireless Worldwide, a move that could help boost bandwidth for its smartphone customers as demand for Internet access on cell phones continues to grow.
- Avon Products (AVP) declined to comment on a report in The Wall Street Journal indicating a foreign-bribery case against the beauty company intensified as prosecutors presented evidence to a grand jury. The U.S. is focusing on a 2005 internal audit that concluded Avon workers in China bribed officials, the paper said.
- General Electric Co (GE) plans to hire 5,000 U.S. military veterans over the next five years and to invest $580 million to expand its aviation footprint in the United States this year.
- Chesapeake Energy (CHK) outlined its 2012 financial plan Monday, saying that it expects to receive $2 billion from two separate transactions in the next 60 days and plans to issue $1 billion in senior notes in a public offering.
- U.S. financial stocks posted early gains in the wake of Greece’s debt deal. Shares of Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) were up more than 1%.
- Empire State Realty Trust, owners of the iconic Empire State Building in New York City, filed to sell up to $1 billion of its Class A common stock, giving ordinary investors a chance to own a piece of the building that has been fought over by billionaires.
Hedge Fund News Update
- The Texas County & District Retirement System has added a pair of hedge funds to its portfolio, spending $305 million of $885 million recently set aside for the asset class. The beneficiaries of the $17.7 billion pension’s largesse are New York-based Asian Century Quest Capital and Rowayton, Conn. based Graham Capital Management. The latter’s Global Investment Fund received $175 million, while the former was allocated $130 million.
- Investcorp has reported a fall in profits in its results for the six months ended December 31, 2011 (H1 FY12). The company’s net income fell to $5.3 million from $56.2 million. It said that asset-based income overall was impacted by negative returns on hedge funds with the hedge fund industry worldwide experiencing draw downs due to the turbulence caused by the Eurozone crisis.
- R-Squared Master Fund, which outperformed the Eurekahedge benchmark last year, has been buying Japan’s credit default swaps since the end of 2011 on bets that the premiums will rise to a record as the world’s most indebted country increases borrowing.
- Hedge funds boosted bullish bets on heating oil to an 11-week high as frigid weather swept across central and Eastern Europe, spurring demand for U.S. fuel while shutdowns of unprofitable refineries threatened supplies.
- Hedge fund manager Douglas Whitman and his California-based firm have been charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with making $980,000 from inside information provided as part of the Galleon insider-trading scandal.
- Hedge funds, coming off their second-worst year in two decades, are on the rebound this year, but they’re still trailing the broader market. Hennessee Group, a hedge fund adviser, said its composite index of hedge fund performance gained 2.5% in January, versus a gain of 4.25% for the S&P 500 Index of the largest U.S. companies.
- Chicago-based AM Capital Management which specializes in hedge fund investment strategies for qualified institutional and individual investors, started 2012 up +21.19% versus the DOW index + 3.36%, NASDAQ + 5.88%, and the S&P 500 index at + 4.25%.