Market News March 22nd 2012 – Consumer Optimism at Eight Year High

 Market News March 22nd 2012 - Consumer Optimism at Eight Year High

Every afternoon ValueWalk provides an update on global market levels, economic news, and hedge fund news.

Market Levels

  • US:  Dow: 13051.59 (-0.55%), S&P 500: 1393.11 (-0.70%), NASDAQ: 3063.63 (-0.39%)
  • Europe: CAC: 3472.46 (-1.58%), DAX: 6981.26 (-1.29%), FTSE: 5845.65 (-0.79%).
  • Asia-Pacific:Australia: 4273.70 (0.46%),China: 2375.77 (-0.10%),Hong Kong: 20901.56 (0.21%),India: 5228.45 (-2.54%),Japan: 10127.28 (0.40%).
  • Metals: Gold: 1642.00 (-0.50%), Silver: 31.40 (-2.58%), Copper: 3.77 (0.11%)
  • Energy: Crude Oil: 104.98 (-2.13%), Natural Gas: 2.29 (-2.88%)
  • Commodities: Corn: 6.44 (0.31%), Soya Bean: 13.50 (-0.33%), Wheat: 6.44 (1.26%)
  • Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3178 (-0.29%), GBP/USD: 1.5811 (-0.39%), USD/JPY: 83.5300 (-1.07%)
  • 10 year US Treasury: 2.271% (-0.027)


Market and Economy News Update


U.S. markets fall: U.S. markets fell Thursday as investors were worried of a global growth slowdown, after soft manufacturing data came out of China and Germany. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX), the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and the NASDAQ (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) were all down close to half a percent today.

Consumer optimism at eight year high: In the Bloomberg monthly consumer expectations survey, thirty-four percent of respondents said theU.S. economy was improving, the highest level since 2004. Americans are growing more optimistic as employment prospects brighten, highlighted by figures from the Labor Department today showed jobless claims decreased by 5,000 in the week ended March 17.

Oil falls: Oil was down more than 2 percent Thursday after weak Chinese and European manufacturing data led to investors fearing a fall in global energy demands. Crude oil for May delivery fell 2.1 percent to $105.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil fell 1 percent on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.


Euro slides: Disappointing manufacturing data from China and Germany data sent the euro sliding, as weakness in the bonds of fiscally stressed euro-zone countries led to further investor pessimism. After hitting an overnight low of $1.3133against the dollar, the euro last traded at $1.3158, down 0.4 percent.


 Company News Update


  • Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), Alcoa (NYSE:AA), Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) were the worst performers among the Dow components, all slipping around 2 percent.
  • World’s second biggest package delivery company, FedEx Corp (NYSE:FDX), fell more than 4 percent after the company lowered its earnings outlook due to a fall in demand fromEurope.
  • General Motors (NYSE:GM) is planning to shut-down a couple of its factories inEurope as the global auto maker continues to struggle in the continent. Shares of GM were down more than a percent.
  • Payments network company, Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS), was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, jumping 4.3 percent, after the company said fiscal first-quarter profit increased 36 percent.
  • Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH), the second-largestU.S. satellite-TV provider, soared 3 percent after Deutsche Bank AG increased its share-price estimate to $41 from $35.
  • Payment processor, Vantiv (NYSE:VNTV), and email marketing company, ExactTarget (NYSE:ET, surged made their NYSE debut today, both stocks trading much above their initial public offering prices.
  • Perry Ellis International (NASDAQ:PERY) gained more than 3.5 percent as earnings exceeded analysts’ expectations. The apparel company also revealed plans of hiving off smaller brands and businesses by the end of fiscal year 2013.
  • FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL), the fuel-cell power-plant maker, tumbled after the company unveiled plans to offer additional shares at a 15% discount to its last close.
  • Nike (NYSE:NKE) and Accenture (NYSE:CAN) are will post earnings after-the-bell tonight.


Hedge Fund News Update


  • According to Parker Global Strategies’s Currency Managers Index, driven by more aggressive bets on currencies from emerging markets and commodities exporters, currency-focused hedge funds returned 1.34% last month, the third consecutive monthly gain. This is their strongest start since 2003.
  • Former manager at FrontPoint Partners, Joseph “Chip” Skowron III, was ordered to pay $10.2 million to Morgan Stanley (MS) after he admitted last year to insider trading the hedge fund formerly owned by the investment bank.
  • Steve Eisman, the former senior portfolio manager at the now-defunct hedge fund FrontPoint Partners, has raised $22.9 million for his new Emrys Onshore Fund which started trading on March 1.
  • Neil Shah, the former Shumway Capital Partners executive, has set up a new investrment management company, March Altus Capital Management, whose maiden offering is expected to come out within the next few weeks.
  • J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) Worldwide Securities Services, the global leader in providing innovative hedge fund administration services and solutions, has been named the ‘Best North American Hedge Fund Administrator’ at the Hedgeweek Global Awards 2012.
  • The pension fund for the London Borough of Camden has five shortlisted managers – Aurum, Blackstone, BlueCrest, Brevan Howard and Prisma, to oversee the 5 percent (£50 million) it plans to allocate to hedge funds.
  •  Edward Lampert’s ESL Investments backed Sears Holdings Corp. has named former Sony Electronics executive Steve Haber to head its home appliances business.

About the Author

Abhijit Sen
Abhijit Sen is a financial writer, commentator, with close to a decade's experience in analyzing global equity, commodity and Forex markets. He is based in India, and can be reached at