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Wednesday Post Market, Economic, Hedge Fund and Company News

Wednesday Post Market, Economic, Hedge Fund and Company NewsEvery afternoon we provides an update on global market levels, economic news, and hedge fund news.

Market Levels

 * US: Dow: 13268.60 (-0.08%), S&P 500: 1402.31 (-0.25%), NASDAQ: 3059.85 (0.31%)

* Europe: CAC: 3226.36 (0.42%), DAX: 6710.77 (-0.75%), FTSE: 5758.11 (-0.94%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4435.90 (0.14%), China: 2438.44 (1.73%), Hong Kong: 21309.08 (1.01%), India: 5239.15 (-0.17%), Japan: 9380.25 (0.31%).

* Metals: Gold: 1654.00 (-0.51%), Silver: 30.64 (-0.92%), Copper: 3.79 (-1.47%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 105.33 (-0.78%), Natural Gas: 2.25 (-4.98%)

* Commodities: Corn: 6.11 (-2.78%), Soya Bean: 13.68 (-1.74%), Wheat: 6.14 (-4.43%)

* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3157 (0.59%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6198 (0.12%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 80.1350 (0.06%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 1.928% (-0.016)

 Market and Economy News Update

 U.S. markets end mixed: Markets ended mixed on Wednesday as data showed companies added fewer than expected jobs and euro zone unemployment jumped to a 15-year high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) slipped 0.08 percent to close at 13,268.57. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) lost 0.25 percent, to finish at 1,402.31, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 0.31 percent, to end at 3,059.85.

Oil prices fall: Oil prices fell after U.S. crude inventories surged to their highest level in more than 21 years. Crude oil for May delivery fell 0.78 percent to $105.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for June settlement declined 1.09 percent to end the session at $118.35 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Company News Update

 * Visa Inc (NYSE:V), the world’s largest credit and debit-card network, posted fiscal second-quarter earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street’s expectations. Net income stood at $1.29 billion, or $1.91 a share, and revenue increased 15 percent to $2.58 billion.

* Prudential Financial Inc (NYSE:PRU), the second- biggest U.S. life insurer, reported first quarter operating profit of $1.56 a share, below the average estimate of $1.72 a share.

* The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL), the largest publicly traded U.S. home and auto insurer, reported first quarter net income and revenue that was above Wall Street’s expectations.

* Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), the largest U.S. home lender, controlled 33.9 percent of the U.S. mortgage market in the three months ended March, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

* Europe’s largest drug maker, Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) will buy New York-based maker of generic dermatology products, Fougera Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $1.53 billion.

* Navigation device maker Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN) reported first quarter profit that beat estimates, amid strong growth in all business segments.

* Teen-apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) raised its first-quarter earnings guidance because of stronger than expected sales and fewer promotions this spring.

* Con Way Inc (NYSE:CNW), the U.S. trucking company, reported first quarter earnings excluding some items of 45 cents a share that easily beat the 34 cents a share that analysts were expecting.

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Protalix BioTherapeutics Inc. (NYSEAMEX:PLX) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE)’s experimental biotech drug for the treatment of Gaucher disease, a rare genetic disorder.

* R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (NASDAQ:RRD), the largest North American printer reported posted first quarter adjusted earnings per share of 44 cents, topping the 36 cents a share that analysts’ were expecting.

Hedge Fund News Update

* Hedge fund manager Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC (NYSE:OZM) reported first quarter earnings that met Wall Street analysts’ estimates. New York-based Och-Ziff said assets under management climbed to $29.8 billion by May 1, up from $28.8 billion on Dec. 31, 2011.

* William Lee, the former head of JPMorgan Chase & Co’s Asia-Pacific equity derivatives group, will launch his own hedge fund in the fourth quarter with a $2 billion capacity.

* Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management recently offloaded its entire stake in Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc (NYSE:FBHS) and Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO). https://www.valuewalk.com/2012/05/ackman-sells-fbhs-and-fdo-einhorn-buys-oaktree/

* According to media reports, legendary natural gas trader and hedge fund manager John Arnold will close his flagship Centaurus fund.

* A survey of 400 hedge fund managers by accounting firm Rothstein Kass has revealed that roughly 48 percent of those surveyed anticipate a difficult year ahead for the sector; with close to 40 percent saying that the U.S. could enter a double-dip recession.

* Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (USA) (NYSE:CP) today indicated that it is ready to negotiate a compromise with activist investor Bill Ackman, who is waging a proxy fight to oust chief executive officer, Fred Green.

* Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) has appointed Paul Baron, Deutsche Bank’s head of North American hedge fund sales trading, as co-head of its equity-derivatives sales team for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

* Affiliated Managers Group, Inc. (NYSE:AMG), which has stakes in various hedge-fund groups and other asset managers, said first-quarter profit fell 4.4 percent to $37.4 million, or 71 cents a share, from $39.1 million, or 74 cents a share, a year earlier. The Boston company however continued to report net inflows from clients.

Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Wednesday, May 2, 2012

 * Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ:ATRO) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at Dougherty & Company with a target price of $41.

* Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc (NYSE:FBHS) was raised to “outperform” from “sector perform” at RBC Capital Mkts with a target price of $28.

* Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE:RGC) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Stifel Nicolaus with a target price of $17.

* Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE:VAR) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” at Barrington Research.

* Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE:WPZ) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Stifel Nicolaus with a target price of $62.

 * AXIS Capital Holding Limited (NYSE:AXS) was downgraded from “buy” to “hold” at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $36.

* Collective Brands Inc. (NYSE:PSS) was cut from “buy” to “hold” at Auriga.

* Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:ENDP) was downgraded from “buy” to “hold” at Cantor Fitzgerald with a target price of $39…

* Protalix BioTherapeutics Inc. (NYSEAMEX:PLX) was cut from “buy” to “hold” at Canaccord Genuity with a target price of $8.

* Ubiquiti Networks Inc (NASDAQ:UBNT) was downgraded from “buy” to “hold” at Wunderlich with a target price of $35.

 

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