Midday Market News – April 02, 2012

Midday Market News - April 02, 2012Every afternoon ValueWalk provides an update on global market levels, economic news, and hedge fund news.

Market Levels

 * US: Dow: 13285.22 (0.55%), S&P 500: 1420.70 (0.87%), NASDAQ: 3119.43 (0.90%)

* Europe: CAC: 3462.91 (1.13%), DAX: 7056.65 (1.56%), FTSE: 5874.89 (1.81%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4329.30 (-0.14%), China: 2262.79 (0.00%), Hong Kong: 20522.26 (-0.16%), India: 5317.90 (0.42%), Japan: 10109.87 (0.26%).

* Metals: Gold: 1679.60 (0.46%), Silver: 33.08 (1.85%), Copper: 3.92 (2.41%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 105.11 (2.03%), Natural Gas: 2.14 (0.85%)

* Commodities: Corn: 6.57 (2.02%), Soya Bean: 14.21 (1.30%), Wheat: 6.57 (-0.53%)

* Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3328 (-0.12%), GBP/USD: 1.6029 (0.12%), USD/JPY: 82.1900 (-0.82%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 2.191% (-0.020)

 Market and Economy News Update

 U.S. markets rally: Markets rallied on Monday after better than expected manufacturing reports from U.S. and China helped ease investor worries about a recession in the euro zone. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) was up close to half a percent, while the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) and the NASDAQ (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) were up 0.8 percent.

 U.S. manufacturing sector grew in March: The Institute for Supply Management said manufacturing sector expanded at a faster pace in March, with the index of national factory activity at 53.4 in March, up from 52.4 in February. Economists’ were expecting a reading of 53.0.

 U.S. construction spending drops in February: Commerce Department figures showed construction spending in the U.S. unexpectedly declined in February, as investment in government and private projects fell. Construction spending fell 1.1 percent, the biggest drop in seven months, to an annual rate of $808.86 billion.

 Oil up close to 2 percent: Oil rallied after news of a halt in oil exports from Iraq’s Kurdish region emerged. Kurdistan region of Iraq halted exports because of a payments dispute with Baghdad. The market also found support from a better than expected U.S. manufacturing data. Crude oil for May delivery jumped 2 percent at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Company News Update

* Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) jumped 2.7 percent after Consumer Reports magazine named the new iPad as the best tablet computer.

* Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE:AVP) on Monday rejected a $10 billion takeover bid from Coty Inc, saying the offer “substantially undervalues” the company.

* Global Payments Inc. (NYSE:GPN) plunged 4 percent on Monday, after suffering a 9 percent fall on Friday, after news reports revealed the company had fallen victim to a data breach that had compromised credit and debit card information of the major card brands Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) and MasterCard Inc (NYSE:MA).

* Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN), the largest provider of daily deals online, slumped 13 percent, after the company reduced its fourth-quarter income and sales due to customer returns.

* Express Scripts, Inc. (NASDAQ:ESRX), the largest U.S. pharmacy benefit management service provider, gained 2.7 percent after it completed the $29.1 billion purchase of New Jersey-based Medco Health Solution Inc. (NYSE:MHS).

* Theravance Inc (NASDAQ:THRX) surged 18 percent after GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) agreed to pay $212.9 million to increase its stake in the company to 26.8 percent.

* Boingo Wireless Inc (NASDAQ:WIFI) fell 3.5 percent to $11.46 after slumping 13 percent, the most intraday since Aug. 8. Mitsui & Co., the second-largest shareholder in Boingo, sold 53,742 shares in the operator of wireless Internet hot spots.

* Frontier Communications Corp (NASDAQ:FTR) gained 3.8 percent after it was raised to “buy” from “neutral” at Nomura Holdings, with a 12-month price target of $5.

Hedge Fund News Update

 * Hedge fund lobby group, the Alternative Investment Management Association, is worried that a new draft of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) will harm their business and prevent US and Asian fund managers from tapping European investors.

* One of Asia’s largest hedge funds, Sparx Group Co., which manages $6.5 billion in assets, will launch a fund in July that will invest in renewable-energy projects in Japan. Sparx’s founder and chief executive officer Shuhei Abe said the fund will initially focus on wind and solar projects, which should get a boost, given Japan’s renewed emphasis on renewable energy sources after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

* Florida-based Stonehenge Asset Management has launched its third multi-strategy hedge fund, Stonehenge Diversified III, and is aiming to raise $500 million. According to Steven A Michael, founder, principal and chief investment officer, the fund will trade on a short-term approach to a statistical volatility breakout on a 24-hour basis, and will also focus on a medium strategy approach, using a statistical volatility algorithm along with capital flow data to trade a broad base of commodities.

* Capital Innovations, the Wisconsin-based investment firm has launched the Capital Innovations Inflation Fund, and will primarily invest in infrastructure, timber and agriculture.

* As part of China’s effort to loosen controls on cross-border capital flows, Shanghai officials are preparing to launch a pilot program that would allow some foreign hedge funds and private-equity players to raise yuan capital from Chinese companies and individuals and invest it in foreign markets. The latest move is part of a broader effort to turn the yuan into an international currency, and make Shanghai a global center for yuan business by 2015.