* US: Dow: 13437.10 (-0.36%), S&P 500: 1440.67 (-0.45%), NASDAQ: 3116.23 (-0.65%)
* Europe: CAC: 3354.82 (-2.52%), DAX: 7216.15 (-1.02%), FTSE: 5742.07 (-0.65%).
* Metals: Gold: 1773.90 (1.16%), Silver: 34.58 (-0.26%), Copper: 3.76 (-0.42%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 92.19 (0.37%), Natural Gas: 3.32 (0.70%)
* Commodities: Corn: 7.56 (5.58%), Soya Bean: 16.01 (1.93%), Wheat: 9.02 (5.49%)
* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2859 (0.45%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6170 (0.45%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 77.9150 (0.37%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 1.634% (-0.021)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets closed lower on Friday amid a weak manufacturing report, but all three major indices recorded strong gains for the month and the third quarter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) slipped 48.84 points, or 0.36 percent, to close at 13,437.13. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 6.48 points, or 0.45 percent, to finish at 1,440.67, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) slumped 20.37 points, or 0.65 percent, to end at 3,116.23. For the quarter, the Dow rallied 4.32 percent, the S&P 500 jumped 5.76 percent, and the NASDAQ surged 6.17 percent.
Oil prices gain: Oil prices rose in a choppy session on Friday amid growing tension between Iran and the West. Crude oil for November delivery added 0.4 percent, to settle at $92.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for November settlement increased 0.1 percent to $112.09 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. U.S. crude rose 8.5 percent in the third quarter following the 17.5 percent decline in the second quarter.
Stocks in Focus
* Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) chief executive Tim Cook has apologized to customers frustrated with glaring errors in its new iPhone maps application.
* Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) ended 6.6 percent higher after London-based researcher GlobalWebIndex said the social-network has witnessed an eightfold increase in users in China since that country restricted access to the service in 2009. Separately, Topeka Capital reiterated its “buy” rating on the stock with a $36 price target.
* Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) lost 1.6 percent after agreeing to pay $2.43 billion to settle a class action lawsuit related to its acquisition of Merrill Lynch in 2008.
* Drugstore chain Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) closed 0.4 percent lower after reporting a 55 percent drop in fourth quarter earnings. Same-store front end sales fell 1.3 percent and same store prescription sales declined 12.8 percent.
* Cell-tower company Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE:CCI) fell 1.3 percent after agreeing to acquire 7,200 T-Mobile towers for $2.4 billion in cash.
* BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK), the world’s largest asset manager, has acquired a stake in the Moscow stock exchange ahead of its expected initial public offering. Separately, BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) has reduced its stake in Italian insurer Unipol Gruppo Finanziario SpA (BIT:UNI).
* Athletic gear company Finish Line Inc (NASDAQ:FINL) ended flat in trade today after reporting fiscal second-quarter profit that beat estimates, but flagging softening trends in the current quarter. Profit for the quarter came in at of 49 cents per share, five cents above estimates. Net sales rose 16 percent to $385 million, beating estimates of $358.3 million. Comparable store sales were up 12.3 percent. Separately, Finish Line has struck a deal with Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) to become its exclusive athletic footwear partner.
* Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is planning an online marketplace for wine sales, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
* Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) fell 1.6 percent after analysts at UBS AG removed the stock from its U.S. Key Call list.
* Health insurer Amerigroup Corporation (NYSE:AGP), which is being acquired by WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP), agreed to sell its managed care operations in Virginia to not-for-profit health provider Inova, amid antitrust queries from the U.S. Department of Justice.
* Struggling consumer electronics chain RadioShack Corporation (NYSE:RSH) secured a five year $100 million loan from Wells Fargo at an interest rate of 11 percent.
* Telecom equipment supplier Adtran, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN) fell 10 percent after it lowered its third-quarter earnings outlook. The company forecast third-quarter adjusted earnings of 18 cents to 19 cents per share, on revenue of about $162 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 30 cents a share on revenue of $187 million.
* Electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) ended 2.8 percent higher after it priced its secondary offering of 6.9 million shares of common stock at $28.25 a share.
* Medical technology company Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT) has agreed to acquire orthopedic implant maker China Kanghui Holdings Inc. for $816 million in cash.
* Offshore oil driller Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG) lost ground on Friday for the second straight session after it was ordered to halt operations on its nine rigs in Brazil within 30 days as part of a criminal investigation into the Frade field oil spill.
* Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOR) ended 3.6 percent higher after initiating a quarterly dividend of 20 cents a share and increasing its stock buyback to 7 million shares from 3.2 million.
* Electrical and industrial products maker AZZ Incorporated (NYSE:AZZ) surged 9 percent after reporting strong second quarter earnings and revenue. It also raised its full-year outlook.
* Capital Trust, Inc. (NYSE:CT) climbed 20 percent after The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) agreed to buy the investment unit of the real estate finance company in a deal worth about $30 million.
* Cellular therapy company Cytori Therapeutics Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:CYTX) soared 14 percent after it was awarded a $4.7 million U.S. government contract to develop a treatment for thermal burns caused by radiation.
* TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:TE) has agreed to sell its equity interests in two power stations and related solid fuel handling and port facilities in Guatemala for $227.5 million in cash.
* Electronic medical-records firm Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:MDRX) is considering a sale of the company and has had talks in recent weeks with several private equity firms including The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX), according to a Bloomberg report.
Hedge Fund News Update
* New York-based hedge fund Mason Capital Management has said that Canadian telecom company Telus Corporation (USA) (NYSE:TU) (TSE:T)’s plan for a single class of common shares is one of Canada’s “worst” share collapse deals in recent times.
* Nebraska pension fund, the Lincoln Fire and Police Retirement System has pulled out of hedge funds, and has terminated JPMorgan Asset Management, which had been running a fund of hedge funds portfolio for the $168 million public pension.
* Canadian public pension plans with more than $1 billion in assets under management, have 15 percent of their capital allocated in alternative investments, according to data from Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service.
* Financial services software firm SS&C Technologies has acquired Massachusetts-based hedge fund administrator Gravity Financial.
* London-based hedge fund manager CQS has added former SAC Capital Advisors trader, David Morant to its long/short equities team.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Friday, September 28, 2012
* Actuant Corporation (NYSE:ATU) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at SunTrust with a target price of $34.50.
* Align Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALGN) was lifted to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Zacks with a target price of $45.
* Atwood Oceanics, Inc. (NYSE:ATW) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Guggenheim with a target price of $57.
* Regal-Beloit Corporation (NYSE:RBC) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at MKM Partners with a target price of $80.
* Syngenta AG (ADR) (NYSE:SYT) was lifted to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at HSBC.
* ArcelorMittal (ADR) (NYSE:MT) was lowered to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Macquarie.
* American Capital Mortgage Investment Crp (NASDAQ:MTGE) was downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Macquarie.
* ADTRAN, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN) was cut to “underperform” from “buy” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $15.
* Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS) was lowered to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Evercore Partners.
* Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $95.
* Dresser-Rand Group Inc. (NYSE:DRC) was cut to “accumulate” from “buy” by analysts at Tudor Pickering.
* FMC Corporation (NYSE:FMC) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Bank of America.
* McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) was lowered to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Janney Montgomery Scott with a target price of $100.
* Partnerre Ltd (NYSE:PRE) was cut by analysts at Evercore Partners from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating.
* Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Buckingham Research.
* Reed Elsevier plc (ADR) (NYSE:RUK) was lowered to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Credit Suisse.
* Box Ships (NYSE:TEU) was cut by analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating.
* The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Buckingham Research.
* United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX) was lowered to “perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Oppenheimer.