Midday Market News – March 23, 2012

Midday Market News – March 23, 2012

Midday Market News - March 23, 2012Every afternoon ValueWalk provides an update on global market levels, economic news, and hedge fund news.

Market Levels

 * US: Dow: 13092.69 (0.36%), S&P 500: 1397.64 (0.35%), NASDAQ: 3067.88 (0.15%)

Modern Day Asset Management

Asset ManagementValueWalk's Raul Panganiban interviews Ross Klein, CFA, and Vince Lorusso. Ross is founder and CIO at Changebridge Capital and Vince is Partner and Portfolio Manager at Changebridge Capital where they manage the CBLS, Changebridge Capital Long/ Short Equity ETF and CBSE, Changebridge Sustainable Equity ETF. The following transcript is computer generated and may contain some Read More

* Europe: CAC: 3476.18 (0.11%), DAX: 6995.62 (0.21%), FTSE: 5854.89 (0.16%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4270.40 (-0.08%), China: 2349.54 (-1.12%), Hong Kong: 20668.80 (-1.13%), India: 5278.20 (0.95%), Japan: 10011.47 (-1.15%).

* Metals: Gold: 1662.00 (1.19%), Silver: 32.21 (-0.19%), Copper: 3.80 (-0.13%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 106.78 (1.36%), Natural Gas: 2.30 (1.15%)

* Commodities: Corn: 6.46 (0.27%), Soya Bean: 13.66 (1.26%), Wheat: 6.54 (1.28%)

* Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3262 (0.46%), GBP/USD: 1.5868 (0.30%), USD/JPY: 83.5000 (-0.04%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 2.230% (-0.046)

Market and Economy News Update

 U.S. markets move higher: Gain in energy shares due to the rally in oil offset a disappointing new home sales report. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) were up more than 0.3 percent, while the NASDAQ (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) is trading 0.1 percent higher.

 New home sales dip in February: New single-family home sales unexpectedly fell in February for a second month but prices jumped to their highest level in eight months. The Commerce Department said sales dropped 1.6 percent to a 313,000-unit annual rate, from a 318,000 rate in January. The median price for a new home rose 8.3 percent to $233,700, the highest since June last year. https://www.valuewalk.com/2012/03/figures-show-313k-new-home-sales-in-february/

 Oil jumps: Oil rallied almost $3 a barrel on reports that Iranian oil exports have fallen significantly this month due to tighter Western sanctions. Reuters said Iranian oil exports will drop by 300,000 barrels a day in March. More information at following link-https://www.valuewalk.com/2012/03/oil-moves-on-iranian-false-report-uso-chart-included/

Crude oil for May delivery rose 1.6 percent a barrel in mid-day trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for May settlement gained 1.6 percent a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

 Gold rises more than a percent: Gold jumped more than 1 percent on Friday and is set for its first weekly rise in four weeks, a spurt in crude oil prices and a sharp drop in the dollar prompted investors to short-covering. U.S. gold futures for April delivery rose $21.80 to $1,664.30 an ounce, while spot gold was up 1.14 percent an ounce.

 Company News Update

 * Trading in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was briefly halted in morning after the stock suddenly fell from $598 to $543. Trading resumed immediately, but NASDAQ is yet to issue a statement. Chart and more information at the following link-https://www.valuewalk.com/2012/03/apple-inc-aapl-trading-suspended-reactivated/

* Energy shares rebounded, after dragging the market lower in the past days. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and  Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) were among the Dow’s biggest gainers. Consol Energy Inc. jumped 2.8 percent.

* KB Home (NYSE:KBH), the fifth-largest U.S. homebuilder, slumped 4.8 percent after the company posted a first-quarter loss that was worse than expected and also reported a decline in orders for new homes.

* Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) gained 3.8 percent and was the biggest mover in the S&P 500, as the stock was upgraded to “sector perform” from “underperform” at Royal Bank of Canada (TSE:RY).

* Drilling-services company, Layne Christensen Company (NASDAQ:LAYN), slid 8.1% after the company issued a warning late Thursday that its bottom line in the current quarter will drop much more than what analysts expect due to a decline in municipal spending.

* Steelcase Inc. (NYSE:SCS), the office-furniture maker, fell 2.3% after the company posted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that fell way short of street expectations, and provided a first-quarter outlook that was below what analysts expected.

* Apparel retailer, The Wet Seal, Inc. (NASDAQ:WTSLA) slid 8.2% after the posting fiscal fourth-quarter results that was more or less in line with estimates but said that first-quarter sales will be below forecasts.

 Hedge Fund News Update

 * According to data compiled by industry tracker Eurekahedge, hedge funds in Asia have regained some momentum and have attracted net fund inflows of about US$600 million since the start of the year, which is remarkably better than the to outflows of US$2.7 billion seen in the last quarter of 2011.

* BNY Mellon Alternative Investment Services, a leading service provider for alternative assets, won the Best Asian Hedge Fund Administrator Award at the 2012 Hedgeweek Awards in London.

* Hedge Fund Research, appointed Joel M. Schwab as a managing director. Schwab joins from eVestment Alliance LLC.

* Andrey C. Hicks of the Boston-based Locust Offshore Management has been asked by a federal judge to pay $7.5 million for defrauding investors, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

* Coast Asset Management, the Santa Monica, California-based alternative asset manager, which serves high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors, will hive off its fund of hedge funds business to focus on its fixed-income arbitrage funds.

* BofA Merrill Lynch has been appointed as an additional prime broker by French hedge fund manager Bernheim, Dreyfus & Co. for the Diva Synergy Fund and the Diva Synergy UCITS Fund.

* According to news reports, the $74.7bn New Jersey State Investment Council, which overlooks the state’s seven retirement systems, following approval from the board on Wednesday, is set to invest upto $450m in new hedge funds, of which BlueCrest Capital International will receive $200m, Claren Road will receive $150m and Cadian Fund will manage $100m.

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