Home Business Midday Market News – March 26, 2012

Midday Market News – March 26, 2012

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

Market Levels

* US: Dow: 13211.12 (1.00%), S&P 500: 1412.18 (1.08%), NASDAQ: 3115.18 (1.54%)

* Europe: CAC: 3501.98 (0.74%), DAX: 7079.23 (1.18%), FTSE: 5902.70 (0.81%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4262.80 (-0.18%), China: 2350.60 (0.05%), Hong Kong: 20668.86 (0.00%), India: 5184.25 (-1.78%), Japan: 10018.24 (0.07%).

* Metals: Gold: 1685.10 (1.37%), Silver: 32.79 (1.61%), Copper: 3.89 (0.17%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 106.88 (0.01%), Natural Gas: 2.24 (-1.41%)

* Commodities: Corn: 6.41 (-0.85%), Soya Bean: 13.81 (1.17%), Wheat: 6.60 (0.99%)

* Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3333 (0.47%), GBP/USD: 1.5948 (0.49%), USD/JPY: 82.8500 (0.61%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 2.253% (0.022)

Market and Economy News Update

Dow up close to a percent: U.S. markets rallied today, rebounding from last week’s big decline, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said easy monetary policy was necessary to create jobs. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) were up close to a percent, while the NASDAQ (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was trading 1.2 percent higher.

Pending home sales falls in February: According to a report Monday from the National Association of Realtors, the number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes fell in February. The index of pending home purchases fell 0.5 percent to 96.5 in February from 97.0 the previous month.

Gold jumps 1 percent: Gold prices jumped 1 percent on Monday after comments from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke gave investors hope of a further quantitative easing from the central bank. U.S. gold futures were up $21.70 an ounce at $1,684.10, while Spot gold gained 1.4 percent and is tradinf at $1,685.96.

Company News Update

 * Health care stocks were trading higher on Monday as the Supreme Court takes up the 2-year old U.S. health care overhaul law this week. Hospital stocks such as HCA Holdings (NYSE:HCA) and Tenet Healthcare (NYSE:THC) soared on expectation that the court will uphold the law.

* Supermarket chain, Safeway Inc. (NYSE:SWY), declined the most in the S&P 500 after the stock was downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” at Credit Suisse Group AG.

* Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA) rallied 30 percent after European regulators accepted for review a marketing application for the company’s weight-loss drug candidate lorcaserin.

* Sports bar and grill, Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD), gained 6 percent as analysts at Stephens increased the stock’s price target, and said that the company was well on track to post strong first-quarter results.

* A123 Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:AONE), the maker of batteries for electric cars and trucks, slumped 12 percent after it said that defective battery packs and modules produced at a Michigan plant were being replaced.

* SAIC Inc. (NYSE:SAI), the defense contractor specializing in computer services went up 1 percent after it was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Jefferies & Co. SAIC was upgraded after it declared its first dividend last week.

* ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ:VSAT) slid 1.2 percent after Macquarie Group Ltd cut the satellite hardware supplier to “underperform” from “neutral”.

* Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) rose 10 percent after it was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Wunderlich Securities Inc. The price target was also increased to $49.

Hedge Fund News Update

 * According to data compiled by the International Strategy & Investment Group, hedge funds are buying stocks at the fastest pace since April 2010.

* In a direct snub to hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb, Yahoo Inc (NASDAQ:YHOO) on Sunday appointed three new independent directors. Yahoo Inc’s nominee’s to the board are John D. Hayes, Peter Liguori and Thomas J. McInerney.

* London-based hedge fund, The Children’s Investment Fund (TCI) has written to the government of India to change the top management of Coal India Ltd. (NSE:COALINDIA), in which it owns a 1.01 per cent stake, making it the second largest shareholder.

* New York-based activist hedge fund Elliott Management, founded by Paul

Singer, is building a stake in Cable & Wireless Worldwide Plc. As of Friday night, one of the subsideries of Elliott Management, owned derivatives equivalent to 0.62pc of CWW’s shares. Vodafone and India-based Tata Communications Ltd. are locked in a take-over battle for the UK-based telecom company.

* Aziz Nahas, the chief investment officer for equities, at Lombard Odier Investment Managers, the asset management arm of the Swiss private bank, has left the company. Steven Bulko has been entrusted the responsibility of running Lombard Odier’s multi-strategy hedge fund.

* According to data from Commodity Futures Trading Commission, hedge fund managers increased their net-long positions on commodities just before prices slumped last week on the back of negative manufacturing data from China and Europe.

* Alternative investment firm, SkyBridge Capital, has announced that it will hold the SkyBridge Alternatives Singapore Conference from October 17-19, 2012 at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Notable speakers at the conference include Tony Blair, Al Gore, Jim Rogers and Nouriel Roubini.


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