- US: Dow: 13124.70 (-0.25%), S&P 500: 1410.44 (-0.05%), NASDAQ: 3073.19 (0.11%)
- Europe: CAC: 3462.83 (0.86%), DAX: 7047.45 (1.08%), FTSE: 5776.60 (0.00%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4343.70 (-0.12%), China: 2055.71 (-1.77%), Hong Kong: 19798.67 (-0.41%), India: 5350.25 (-0.68%), Japan: 9085.39 (0.16%).
- Metals: Gold: 1675.60 (0.16%), Silver: 31.05 (1.39%), Copper: 3.48 (-0.20%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 95.47 (-0.71%), Natural Gas: 2.65 (-1.81%)
- Commodities: Corn: 8.00 (-0.96%), Soya Bean: 17.18 (-0.74%), Wheat: 8.81 (-0.82%)
- Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2498 (0.13%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.5792 (0.11%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 78.7450 (0.10%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.651% (-0.036)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end mostly lower: U.S. markets closed near the lows of the day on Monday as investors awaited indications on whether central banks will provide further stimulus measures. Investors were also cautious ahead of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s annual speech, later this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) erased 33.30 points, or 0.25 percent, to end at 13,124.67. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) slipped 0.69 points, or 0.05 percent, to finish at 1,410.44, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 3.40 points, or 0.11 percent, to close at 3,073.19.
Oil prices fall: Oil prices declined on Monday as Tropical Storm Isaac shuttered refineries on the Gulf of Mexico, and is headed for the Louisiana refining hub. The storm is expected to make landfall in the early hours on Wednesday. Crude oil for September delivery slid 0.7 percent, to settle at $95.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for October settlement fell 1 percent to $112.14 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
- Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares hit an all-time high after winning a patent lawsuit against Samsung Electronics Co. Separately, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will unveil a smaller version of its popular iPad in October, according to All Things Digital.
- Finnish handset maker Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) climbed 5.5 percent amid analysts’ expectations that the company could see increased sales as a result of a federal jury ruling against rival Samsung Electronics.
- A federal appeals court has directed Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) to pay about $260 million to interactive TV vendor, ActiveVideo Networks Inc., for patent infringement.
- Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) said that they have reached an agreement with founder Richard Schulze that will grant Schulze access to the company’s financial information, and allow him to form an investment group to make an official bid for the struggling electronics retailer.
- PVH Corp (NYSE:PVH) reported second quarter adjusted profit of $1.25 a share, on revenue of $1.34 billion. Analysts had forecast earnings of $1.20 per share on $1.34 billion in revenue. The clothing maker raised its full-year profit outlook.
- Struggling truck maker Navistar International Corp (NYSE:NAV) said chairman and chief executive, Daniel Ustian has stepped down, and will be replaced on an interim basis by former Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) CEO, Lewis Campbell.
- Apparel retailer Ralph Lauren Corp (NYSE:RL) has named Christopher Peterson as its new chief financial officer. Peterson will replace Tracey Travis, who resigned in July.
- Semiconductor maker Ramtron International (NASDAQ:RMTR) closed 8.4 percent higher after rival chip-maker, Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:CY) raised its all-cash bid to acquire the company to $2.88 per share, or about $109 million.
- Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SBH) said that its board has approved a new $300 million share repurchase program. Separately, the world’s largest retailer of professional beauty supplies has named CEO Gary Winterhalter as chairman and announced the retirement of three board members.
- Biotechnology company ImmunoGen, Inc. (NASDAQ:IMGN) surged 5.6 percent on positive results from a late-stage trial of its breast cancer drug, trastuzumab emtansine.
- Integrated media company Fisher Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSCI) jumped to its highest level in nearly four years, after the board approved a special $10-cash dividend, and also declared a regular quarterly dividend of 15 cents a share.
- Drug developer Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX) said that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed its Hepatitis-C treatment, IDX19368, on clinical hold due to safety concerns.
- Specialty chemical maker TPC Group Inc (NASDAQ:TPCG) has agreed to be taken private by investment funds backed by First Reserve Corp and SK Capital Partners, for about $627.2 million.
- Chinese online games developer Perfect World Co., Ltd. (ADR) (NASDAQ:PWRD) reported second quarter earnings of 57 cents per ADS on revenues of $106.5 million. The stock is down 5.8 percent in after hours trading.
- Global-positioning-system company Trimble Navigation Limited (NASDAQ:TRMB) agreed to buy privately held transportation and logistics-software company, TMW Systems Inc, for $335 million in cash.
Hedge Fund News Update
- Activist investor Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management again urged the board of shopping mall owner General Growth Properties Inc (NYSE:GGP) to enter into negotiations for a takeover by larger rival, Simon Property Group, Inc (NYSE:SPG).
- Hedge fund managers are abandoning bets favoring gains in the U.S. dollar at the fastest pace ever, with net bets that the dollar will weaken against the euro, yen, pound, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, New Zealand dollar, Swiss franc and Mexican peso increasing to 131,512 contracts as of August 21, from about 311,000 contracts betting on an advance in the world’s reserve currency on June 5, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Monday.
- Only 11 percent of hedge funds have outperformed the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) so far this year, according to a study by Goldman Sachs Group. The average hedge fund is up 4.6 percent year to date, and the typical fund has a net long exposure of 43 percent, down from 49 percent in the first quarter.
- Hedge fund managers raised their net long positions across commodities to the highest level in fifteen months, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed.
- New York-based HanKar Capital fell 1.56 percent during the second quarter, but is still up 3.81 percent for the year.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Monday, August 27, 2012
- Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPRX) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Rodman & Renshaw with a target price of $3.70.
- Canaccord Financial Inc. (TSE:CF) was lifted to “outperform” from “sector perform” by analysts at Scotia Capital.
- Keegan Resources Inc. (NYSEAMEX:KGN) was upgraded to “speculative buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Dundee Securities with a target price of $5.50.
- Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:MPC) was raised to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at Simmons.
- Marten Transport, Ltd (NASDAQ:MRTN) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Wunderlich with a target price of $23.
- The Madison Square Garden Co (NASDAQ:MSG) was upgraded to “neutral” from “negative” by analysts at Susquehanna with a target price of $39.
- NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX) was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” by analysts at Zacks with a target price of $27.
- Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) was lifted to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Zacks with a target price of $185.
- Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) was upgraded to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at Simmons.
- rue21, inc. (NASDAQ:RUE) was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Jefferies Group with a target price of $40.
- Talisman Energy Inc. (USA) (NYSE:TLM) was lifted to “outperform” from “sector perform” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets.
- Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) was upgraded to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at Simmons.
- BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:BMRN) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $45.
- Broadcom Corporation (NASDAQ:BRCM) was lowered to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Nomura Securities.
- Ellie Mae Inc (NYSE:ELLI) was cut to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Stephens.
- Ignite Restaurant Group Inc (NASDAQ:IRG) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at KeyBanc.
- LyondellBasell Industries NV (NYSE:LYB) was lowered to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $51.
- Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (NYSE:PEG) was cut to “underperform” from “market perform” by analysts at FBR Capital with a target price of $30.
- Spreadtrum Communications, Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:SPRD) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Chardan Capital with a target price of $20.
- Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE:TER) was lowered to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Zacks with a target price of $17.
- TPC Group Inc (NASDAQ:TPCG) was cut to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Sidoti.
- Westlake Chemical Corporation (NYSE:WLK) was downgraded to “sell” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $61.