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ValueWalk's Raul Panganiban interviews Kirk Du Plessis, Founder and CEO of Option Alpha, and discuss Option Alpha and his general approach to investing. Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The following is a computer generated transcript and may contain some errors. Interview with Option Alpha's Kirk Du Plessis
* US: Dow Futures: 13120.00 (0.09%), S&P 500 Futures: 1400.70 (0.05%), NASDAQ Futures: 2734.75 (-0.03%)
* Europe: CAC: 3528.69 (-0.06%), DAX: 7045.57 (-0.13%), FTSE: 5893.99 (0.04%).
* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4254.30 (-0.48%), China: 2378.20 (0.06%), Hong Kong: 20856.63 (-0.15%), India: 5364.95 (1.71%), Japan: 10086.49 (-0.55%).
* Metals: Gold: 1649.40 (0.15%), Silver: 31.94 (0.35%), Copper: 3.84 (0.20%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 106.15 (0.08%), Natural Gas: 2.34 (0.04%)
* Commodities: Corn: 6.44 (-2.34%), Soya Bean: 13.46 (-1.31%), Wheat: 6.40 (-1.84%)
* Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3225 (0.02%), GBP/USD: 1.5841 (-0.14%), USD/JPY: 84.0400 (0.41%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 2.334% (-0.025)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. stock-index futures trading marginally higher: Stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Wednesday as investors await another report on the housing market. Ahead of the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI), S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) and NASDAQ (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) were all up less than 0.1 percent.
European markets move up: Breaking a two-day downtrend, European markets edged up on Wednesday as investors tried to cast aside worries over Chinese growth and anticipated positive U.S. housing data. The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index was last trading 0.2% higher. The German DAX climbed 0.2 percent today, and is up 20 percent so far this year.
U.K. budget deficit soars: Ahead of the Budget statement, the Office for National Statistics said in London today that U.K.’s budget deficit almost doubled in February as spending increased and income taxes receipts fell. Compared with 8.9 billion pounds a
year earlier, public sector net borrowing excluding public sector interventions was 15.2 billion pounds ($24.1 billion).
Asian markets end mostly down on Chinese slowdown concerns: Most Asian markets ended down on Wednesday on concerns over a slowdown in Chinese growth, dragged by weakness in the financial and property sectors. The Shanghai Composite Index ended the day flat, while the Hang Seng Index ended 0.15 percent lower. Coming off a holiday on Tuesday, the Nikkei 225 ended half a percent lower. Australian shares fell to a one weak low dragged by weakness in mining heavyweights like BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP).
Company News Update
* Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) gained 2 percent in morning trading after posting better-than-expected quarterly profit and new software license sales.
* Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) climbed 7 percent in premarket trading after the company divulged plans of exiting the annuity business and was also seeking a buyer for some its life insurance operations.
* General Mills (NYSE:GIS), the maker of Progresso soups and Cheerios cereal, fell 0.7 percent after reporting fiscal third-quarter earnings that fell short of street expectations.
* Oilfield-services company, Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI) slumped 4 percent after it forecast a lower than expected first-quarter profit due to increased costs and lower fleet utilization.
* LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD), the biggest professional-networking website, soared close to 7 percent after it was raised to “buy” from “neutral” at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
* FSI International Inc. (NASDAQ:FSII), the maker of equipment for chip factories, reported a better than expected second-quarter earnings of 9 cents a
share. The stock jumped 14 percent.
* Doughnut chain Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. (NYSE:KKD), reported fourth-quarter revenue of $102 million that was higher than analysts’ estimates.
* Vodafone (LON:VOD) jumped 1.1 percent after Goldman Sachs, reiterating its buy rating, added the mobile phone operator to its “conviction buy” list. The stock
was also bolstered by Citigroup raising the European telecom sector to neutral from underweight.
* J Sainsbury (LON:SBRY), Britain’s third-biggest supermarket group, gained over 3 percent after reporting fourth-quarter sales growth that beat estimates.
* Wolseley (LON:WOS), the world’s biggest building supplies company, rose 3.5 percent after Credit Suisse raised its target price from £24 to £28.50 with an outperform rating.
* Serco Group Plc (LON:SRP), the provider of outsourcing services to governments and companies, added 1.2 percent after it was raised to “overweight” from “neutral” at HSBC Holdings Plc.
* Adidas AG (FRA:ADS), the second-largest sporting-goods maker, dropped 1.2 percent after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to “underweight” from “equal weight”.
* Italy’s fifth-biggest bank, Banco Popolare SC (BIT:BP), soared 3.5 per cent as investors were buoyed by a better than expected outlook for its capital position and an improving balance sheet.
* TeliaSonera AB (TLSN) slumped 3.7 percent after the Finnish state fund Solidium, on Wednesday, cut its stake in the telecommunications operator to 11.7% from 13.7%.
* Spanish clothes retailer Inditex SA (ITX), the world’s largest clothing retailer and owner of the Zara store chain, reported a 12 percent rise in full-year profit, as the retailer doubled the number of stores in China.
* David Jones (ASX:DJS), Australia’s second-largest department store chain, sank 11 percent in Sydney trading after forecasting that its full-year earnings could fall as much as 40 percent, far more than what analysts are expecting.
* Hutchison (ASX:HTA) soared 17 per cent after Bill Morrow, the former head of Vodafone in Japan and the United Kingdom, was announced as the chief executive of Vodafone Hutchison Australia.
* Clothing and outdoor goods retailer Kathmandu (ASX:KMD), which has more than 110 stores in Australia, New Zealand and Britain, slumped 16 per cent after
reporting a 43 per cent fall in first half profit.
* Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings (TYO:8309) fell 5.1 percent after news came out that the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission is investigating one of its units for possible insider trading associated with Inpex Corp’s (TYO:1605) 2010 global share offering.
* Nissan Motor Co. (TYO: 7201) fell 2.9 percent on worries that the massive earthquake in Mexico yesterday could adversely impact its factories there.
* Aluminium Corp of China (HKG:2600) rose 1.1 percent with big volumes in Hong Kong trading after news reports from China said that Beijing was planning to intensify its efforts to consolidate the non-ferrous mining and smelting industries, a move seen directly benefiting larger players like Aluminium Corp.
* China Rongsheng (HKG:1101), the country’s largest non-state-owned shipbuilder, declined 8.1 percent in Hong Kong after posting a 59 percent slump in second-half profit.
Economic Calendar for Wednesday, March 21, 2012:
07:00 A.M. ET: Mortgage Bankers’ Association Purchase Applications
09:30 A.M. ET: Ben Bernanke Speaks
10:00 A.M. ET: Existing Home Sales (MoM) (February)
10:00 A.M. ET: Existing Home Sales Change (February)
10:30 A.M. ET: EIA Petroleum Status Report