Every afternoon we provide an update on global market levels, company news, economic news, and hedge fund news.
Post Market Update
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* US: Dow: 13515.10 (0.58%), S&P 500: 1444.49 (0.27%), NASDAQ: 3113.53 (-0.09%)
* Europe: CAC: 3434.98 (2.33%), DAX: 7326.73 (1.51%), FTSE: 5820.45 (1.35%).
* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4388.60 (0.04%), China: 2086.17 (0.00%), Hong Kong: 20840.38 (0.00%), India: 5718.80 (0.27%), Japan: 8796.51 (-0.84%).
* Metals: Gold: 1783.30 (0.53%), Silver: 34.95 (1.08%), Copper: 3.79 (0.73%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 92.48 (0.31%), Natural Gas: 3.48 (4.82%)
* Commodities: Corn: 7.56 (0.07%), Soya Bean: 15.60 (-2.55%), Wheat: 8.84 (-2.02%)
* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2888 (-0.24%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6130 (0.19%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 77.9750 (0.08%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 1.625% (-0.009)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end mixed: U.S. markets gave up gains made earlier in the day to end mixed on Monday after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke defended the central bank’s bond-buying stimulus program. Earlier in the day, the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index came in at 51.5 for September, against economists’ expectations for a reading of 49.7. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) gained 77.98 points, or 0.58 percent, to close at 13,515.11. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) edged up 3.82 points, or 0.27 percent, to end at 1,444.49, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) slipped 2.70 points, or 0.09 percent, to finish at 3,113.53.
Oil prices gain: Oil prices rose in a light session on Monday after data showed U.S. manufacturing expanded in September. Crude oil for November delivery added 0.3 percent, to settle at $92.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for November settlement lost 0.3 percent to $112.11 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
* Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) closed at an all-time high on Monday, up 1 percent at $761.78.
* Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) has raised its stake in dialysis clinic operator DaVita Inc. (NYSE:DVA) to about 11 percent last week, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.
* Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) moved 2.6 percent higher after the department store said it plans to hire approximately 80,000 seasonal workers for the holiday season, a 2.5 percent increase from last year.
* The Washington Post Company (NYSE:WPO) gained 0.4 percent after agreeing to acquire a majority stake in home health-care and hospice-services company Celtic Healthcare for an undisclosed price.
* Three American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) subsidiaries agreed to refund $85 million to customers to resolve charges that they engaged in illegal card practices.
* AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) ended 0.8 percent lower after the drug maker suspended its share buyback plan.
* Discount retailer Gordmans Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:GMAN) fell 23 percent after lowering its third quarter earnings and revenue forecast. The company expects to earn between 18 cents and 20 cents per share in the third quarter, compared with its prior guidance of between 24 to 26 cents per share. Revenue is likely to be between $142 million and $144 million, down from its earlier forecast of $145-$147 million.
* Business software maker BMC Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:BMC) jumped 3.3 percent after the Wall Street Journal reported the company is exploring a potential sale, and has retained Bank of America Merrill Lynch to help find a buyer.
* Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) ended 1.4 percent lower after analysts at Credit Suisse initiated coverage of the stock with an ‘underperform” rating and a price target of $32.
* Consulting and IT services group Accenture Plc (NYSE:ACN) has acquired some internet protocol television assets from Nokia Siemens Networks for an undisclosed amount.
* Offshore drilling company Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG) rose 3 percent after a Brazilian court partially lifted a ban on its operations in this country.
* Tenet Healthcare Corporation (NYSE:THC) ended 3.4 percent higher after the hospital operator announced a 1-for-4 stock split and a $500 million share buyback program.
* Water-filtration company Pentair Ltd (NYSE:PNR) announced an additional $800 million share buyback program.
* Medical device maker Fonar Corporation (NASDAQ:FONR) rallied 30 percent after full-year profit more than doubled to $6.87 million, or 91 cents a share, from $3.30 million or 55 cents a share, a year earlier.
* Macquaire Research initiated coverage of bank and wealth-management company, First Republic Bank (NYSE:FRC) with a “neutral” rating and a price target of $35.
* Automotive parts supplier TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (NYSE:TRW) gained 8 percent after its board approved a $1-billion share repurchase program.
* Medical-device company Sunshine Heart Inc (NASDAQ:SSH) jumped 2.4 percent after receiving conditional approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its heart-assist system.
* Apparel maker Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc. (NYSE:FNP) lowered its full-year guidance amid weakness in its Juicy Couture brand.
Hedge Fund News Update
* Gold prices rallied sharply on Monday after hedge fund managers boosted their stakes in the precious metals on the first day of the new quarter, following strong gains in the previous quarter.
* Whitney Tilson, speaking at the Value Investing Congress in New York, said video rental company Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)’s business is better than that of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)
* Whitney Tilson, speaking at the same conference, said Wall Street was undervaluing Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B)’s stock by 24 percent.
* Barry Rosenstein, the co-founder of activist hedge fund Jana Partners said that Canadian agriculture company Agrium Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AGU) should spin-off its retail unit and cut costs.
* Nevada-based asset management company Braeburn Capital that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) created to specifically manage its cash, has now over $117 billion in assets under management.
* Irene Tse, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM)’s chief investment officer for North America, will leave the bank to start a hedge fund, Bloomberg News reported.
* Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. has recommended that shareholders vote in favor of Telus Corporation (USA) (NYSE:TU) (TSE:T)’ share collapse proposal.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Monday, October 01, 2012
* Alliant Techsystems Inc. (NYSE:ATK) was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Cowen.
* Brightcove Inc (NASDAQ:BCOV) was lifted to “top pick” from “outperform” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets with a target price of $20.
* Cedar Realty Trust Inc (NYSE:CDR) was upgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $5.50.
* C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHRW) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Sterne Agee with a target price of $65.
* Coldwater Creek Inc. (NASDAQ:CWTR) was lifted to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $2.
* Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Argus with a target price of $72.
* Finish Line Inc (NASDAQ:FINL) was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” by analysts at Sterne Agee.
* Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) was lifted to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Bernstein with a target price of $80.
* IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Needham & Company with a target price of $65.
* Mueller Industries, Inc. (NYSE:MLI) was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Buckingham Research with a target price of $57.
* Myriad Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MYGN) was lifted to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at Piper Jaffray with a target price of $35.
* Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:OWW) was upgraded to “equal weight” from “underweight” by analysts at Evercore Partners.
* Rudolph Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:RTEC) was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Credit Suisse with a target price of $13.50.
* The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL) was cut to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at FBR Capital with a target price of $40.
* AZZ Incorporated (NYSE:AZZ) was lowered to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at DA Davidson.
* athenahealth, Inc (NASDAQ:ATHN) was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Avondale Partners.
* Brooks Automation, Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:BRKS) was cut to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Credit Suisse.
* Cogent Communications Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:CCOI) was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Raymond James.
* Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (USA) (NYSE:CP) was lowered to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Sterne Agee with a target price of $86.
* Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR) was cut by analysts at Macquarie from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating with a target price of $48.
* JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (NASDAQ:JAKK) was downgraded to “underperform” from “hold” by analysts at Needham & Company.
* M.D.C. Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:MDC) was lowered to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Credit Suisse.
* Mercury Computer Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:MRCY) was cut by analysts at Jefferies Group from a “by” rating to a “hold” rating with a target price of $12.
* ServiceNow Inc (NYSE:NOW) was downgraded to “sell” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $28.
* PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM) was lowered to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Credit Suisse with a target price of $15.
* Quality Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:QSII) was cut by analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating with a target price of $17.
* Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN) was downgraded to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Bank of America.
* Boston Beer Co Inc (NYSE:SAM) was lowered to “sell” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG.
* VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW) was cut by analysts at RBC Capital Markets from an “outperform” rating to a “sector perform.”
* The Wendy’s Company (NASDAQ:WEN) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Janney Montgomery Scott with a target price of $4.75.