Every afternoon we provides an update on global market levels, economic news, and hedge fund news. Market Levels.
- US: Dow: 13228.30 (0.18%), S&P 500: 1403.36 (0.24%), NASDAQ: 3069.20 (0.61%)
- Europe: CAC: 3266.27 (1.13%), DAX: 6801.32 (0.91%), FTSE: 5777.11 (0.49%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4362.10 (-0.30%), China: 2396.32 (-0.35%), Hong Kong: 20741.45 (-0.33%), India: 5190.60 (0.03%), Japan: 9520.89 (-0.43%).
- Metals: Gold: 1664.80 (0.26%), Silver: 31.35 (0.45%), Copper: 3.82 (1.41%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 104.93 (0.36%), Natural Gas: 2.19 (2.82%)
- Commodities: Corn: 6.25 (2.96%), Soya Bean: 13.62 (0.24%), Wheat: 6.50 (2.28%)
- Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3254 (0.27%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6266 (0.50%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 80.2700 (-0.89%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.935% (-0.004)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end higher: Markets ended higher on Friday as strong corporate results and a better-than-expected consumer sentiment data outweighed a weak GDP report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) ended the day 0.2 percent higher at 13,228. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) managed to close above the 1400 mark, ending 0.2 percent higher. The NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 0.6 percent to 3,069.20.
Oil settles above $104: Oil prices rose to the highest level in more than three weeks as the biggest jump in consumer spending in more than a year helped allay investor fears of a slowing U.S. economy. Crude oil for May delivery increased 0.4 percent to $104.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for June settlement fell 0.14 percent to end the session at $119.75 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Company News Update
- The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE:GT), the largest U.S. tire maker reported first quarter adjusted earnings of 34 cents a share, exceeding the average analyst estimate of 8 cents a share. But the company posted a net loss of $11 million, or five cents a share in the first quarter, and cut its forecast for full-year tire unit volume.
- Health insurer Coventry Health Care, Inc. (NYSE:CVH) reported first- quarter profit of 62 cents a share, marginally missing the average analyst estimate of 63 cents a share, but affirmed its 2012 earnings outlook.
- Seattle-based Cray Inc. (NASDAQ:CRAY), the maker of supercomputers reported a big leap in its first-quarter earnings and forecast second-quarter revenue of $85 million, beating the average analyst estimate of $54 million.
- Lazard Ltd (NYSE:LAZ), the largest independent merger adviser, said first net income fell 23 percent to $44.8 million, or 33 cents a share, topping analysts’ estimate of 24 cents a share.
- Biotechnology company InterMune, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITMN) reported first quarter net loss of 74 cents a share on revenue of $8.9 million which was much below the consensus loss of just 70 cents a share and revenue of $10.8 million.
- The Food and Drug Administration has approved Vivus, Inc.‘s (NASDAQ:VVUS) Stendra, an erectile dysfunction treatment, which according to analysts should see sales of $68 million next year.
- The board of Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ:STX) has approved a plan to buy back up to an additional $2.5 billion worth of common stock.
- According to media reports, German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer AG (FRA:BAYN) may offer to buy Rockaway, New Jersey-based Warner Chilcott Plc (NASDAQ:WCRX) for $32 a share.
- Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU), a provider of tax and finance software, has agreed to acquire San Francisco-based Demandforce in a cash deal worth $432.5 million.
Hedge Fund News Update
- Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) has agreed to buy Merlin Securities LLC, a prime brokerage that provides trading, reporting and other services to hedge funds.
- Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP co-founder Alan Howard has topped the rankings in the annual Sunday Times list of wealthiest U.K. hedge fund managers. Howard has seen his personal fortune soar 44 percent from 975 million pounds in 2011 to 1.4 billion pounds ($2.26 billion) in 2012.
- Jean-Louis Le Mee, Chief Investment Officer of London-based hedge fund, Abydos Capital, is worried about a potential Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and the impact it will have on global oil prices, and said he was planning to use options to protect his portfolio against a spike in oil prices.
- Kelvin Woo and Joe Zhang, emerging markets specialists at GLG Partners Inc., are planning to leave the London-based hedge fund to start their own Asia-focused macro hedge fund in July.
- The board of $1.6 billion Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System has fired Philadelphia-based fund of hedge funds, Attalus Capital.
- Dallas-based Highland Capital Management, the $20 billion hedge fund has sued Patrick Daugherty, former head of stressed special situations and private equity, for breach of contract and defamation.
- Alliance Trust, one of Britain’s biggest investment trust funds, has defeated a bid by the Isle of Man-based hedge fund Laxey Partners, to shake up performance at the investment firm, which included the possibility of Alliance outsourcing its asset management business.
- London-based hedge fund CQS has appointed Dhruv Mallick as a portfolio manager in its credit team, who joins from BlackRock/Barclays Global Investors, where he ran long/short credit strategies.
- J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) has hired former head of US prime-brokerage sales at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Michael Fitzgerald, in an effort to entice hedge-fund clients to the bank’s prime-brokerage division.
- Large cap Japanese long/short strategy fund Audley Japan Opportunities Fund, has achieved a return of 14 percent since launch in September last year, with March recording a robust return of 8 percent.
- AllianceBernstein has launched the Select Absolute Alpha Portfolio, which will invest in US equities, and will be managed by Kurt Freuerman, former Caxton Associates money manager.
- Dublin-based Avoca Capital Holdings has appointed Stephen Holland, former head of sales at Abbey Capital, as director of sales and marketing.
- BPZ Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BPZ) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Wunderlich with a target price of $8.
- Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at BB&T Capital Mkts.
- Hittite Microwave Corp (NASDAQ:HITT) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at DA Davidson.
- InterNAP Network Services (NASDAQ:INAP) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Capstone Investments with a target price of $8.5.
- NetScout Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTCT) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Needham.
- ResMed Inc. (NYSE:RMD) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Feltl & Co. with a target price of $38.
- Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:MDRX), was downgraded from “buy” to “neutral” at UBS with a target price of $10.
- InterMune, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITMN) was downgraded from “Mkt Outperform” to “Mkt Perform” at JMP Securities.
- MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) was downgraded from “buy” to “hold” at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $9.
- Susquehanna Bancshares Inc (NASDAQ:SUSQ) was downgraded from “Outperform” to “Sector Perform” at RBC Capital Mkts with a target price of $10.
- True Religion Apparel, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRLG) was downgraded from “buy” to “hold” at BB&T Capital Mkts.