Post Market Update
Every afternoon (and morning) we provide an update on global market levels, company news, economic news, and hedge fund news. Highlights for August 20th 2012 below:
This year has been a record-breaking year for initial public offerings with companies going public via SPAC mergers, direct listings and standard IPOS. At Techlive this week, Jack Cassel of Nasdaq and A.J. Murphy of Standard Industries joined Willem Marx of The Wall Street Journal and Barron's Group to talk about companies and trends in Read More
- US: Dow: 13271.60 (-0.03%), S&P 500: 1418.13 (0.00%), NASDAQ: 3076.21 (-0.01%)
- Europe: CAC: 3480.58 (-0.22%), DAX: 7033.68 (-0.10%), FTSE: 5824.37 (-0.48%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4364.30 (-0.13%), China: 2106.96 (-0.38%), Hong Kong: 20104.27 (-0.06%), India: 5366.30 (0.00%), Japan: 9171.16 (0.09%).
- Metals: Gold: 1623.00 (0.22%), Silver: 28.59 (2.11%), Copper: 3.37 (-1.42%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 95.97 (-0.04%), Natural Gas: 2.78 (2.10%)
- Commodities: Corn: 8.23 (2.04%), Soya Bean: 16.83 (2.29%), Wheat: 9.02 (0.92%)
- Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2348 (-0.11%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.5711 (-0.11%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 79.4050 (-0.20%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.805% (-0.005)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. markets end largely unchanged: U.S. markets closed flat on Monday in another session of listless trading, as investor concern about Europe’s debt crisis offset a rally in technology stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) slid 3.56 points, or 0.03 percent, to finish at 13,271.64. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) shed 0.03 point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1418.13, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) fell 0.38 point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 3076.21. All three indices remained near four-year highs.
Oil prices fall: Oil prices declined on Monday for the first time in four sessions amid investor concerns about the European Central Bank’s ability to get a grip on the region’s debt crisis. Crude oil for September delivery fell 0.04 percent, to settle at $95.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for September settlement slid 0.2 percent to $113.53 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Stocks in Focus
- Angel investor and hedge fund manager Peter Thiel has sold 22 million Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares and will retain 5.6 million shares, according to a filing.
- Apple Inc. (NASADQ:AAPL) ended 2.6 percent higher to become the most valuable company of all time, surpassing Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), the previous U.S. record holder, that reached a peak market cap of $618.9 billion in December 1999.
- Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros has acquired a 7.85 percent passive stake in British soccer club, Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU), according to a filing.
- Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN) reported a 8.1 percent rise in second quarter earnings to $61.3 million, or 42 cents a share, from $57 million, or 35 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue increased 11 percent to $676.3 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 33 cents a share on revenue of $672 million.
- Discount retailer Tuesday Morning Corporation (NASDAQ:TUES) reported fourth quarter net loss of $2 million, or 5 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.4 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier. Sales increased 1 percent to $196.4 million, while same-store sales rose 0.2 percent during the quarter.
- Movie studio Dreamworks Animation Skg Inc (NASDAQ:DWA) has entered into a new a five-year marketing and distribution agreement with News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA)’s Twentieth Century Fox.
- Household-products manufacturer Church & Dwight Co., Inc. (NYSE:CHD) has agreed to acquire privately-held vitamins and supplements producer Avid Health for $650 million in cash.
- Fabrinet (NYSE:FN) reported fourth quarter earnings excluding items of $10.7 million or 31 cents per share, compared to $17.5 million or 50 cents per share in the year-ago period. Revenue declined 25 percent to $142.8 million from $190.3 million a year earlier.
- Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) (LON:RDSA) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), the second-biggest U.S. oil company by market value, have agreed to swap stakes in two $30 billion-plus natural gas projects off the coast of Australia.
- Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (NYSE:KMP) has reached a deal to sell some of its Rocky Mountain natural-gas processing and pipeline assets to Tallgrass Energy Partners LP for about $1.8 billion in cash
- Houston-based trash hauling company Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM) ended 3 percent lower after a Barron’s article said that the company was at risk of falling as much as 15 percent if it continues to pay generous dividends despite the structural challenges.
- Casino stocks Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN) and MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) ended significantly higher after analysts at Sterne Agee said their Macau operations are well on track to post record revenue this month.
- Toronto-based gold royalty and metals streaming company Franco-Nevada Corporation (NYSE:FNV) (TSE:FNV) will pay $1 billion to Inmet Mining Corporation (TSE:IMN) for the development of its Cobre Panama copper-gold mining project in Panama.
Hedge Fund News Update
- David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital Inc. may have made $66 million from its stake in Coventry Health Care, Inc. (NYSE:CVH), as the shares jumped to a four-year high on Monday, following news that health insurer Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) will buy the company for $42.08 a share.
- Hedge fund managers kept their net-long positions across commodities near 11-month highs, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.
- Sovereign wealth fund, The Government of Singapore Investment Corp, has bid $1.5 billion for the MSR Resort, a group of bankrupt hotels owned by hedge fund Paulson & Co. Paulson had acquired the hotels in 2011 from Morgan Stanley.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission has again delayed adopting final rules for provisions to the JOBS Act that will end an 80-year-old ban on hedge fund advertising.
- The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has hired hedge fund managers, Gracie Asset Management, Highline Capital Partners and Third Point LLC, to oversee $100 million each.
- UBS AG (USA) (NYSE:UBS) has launched a new unit, UBS Quant HQ that will combine prime brokerage and capital-raising services for quantitative hedge funds.
- Steven A. Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors wants the board of Clearwater Paper Corp (NYSE:CLW) to separate the company’s consumer products business from its pulp and paperboard unit, so that it can sell one or both of the businesses, according to a regulatory filing.
Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Monday, August 20, 2012
- Credicorp Ltd. (USA) (NYSE:BAP) was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Raymond James.
- Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) was lifted to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Capstone with a target price of $26.
- Granite Construction Inc. (NYSE:GVA) was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Macquarie.
- Jabil Circuit, Inc. (NYSE:JBL) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Longbow Research with a target price of $30.
- Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ:MPEL) was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG with a target price of $15.
- Prosperity Bancshares, Inc. (NYSE:PB) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at BMO Capital Markets with a target price of $48.
- Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Bank of America with a target price of $80.
- Statoil ASA(ADR) (NYSE:STO) was lifted to a “top pick” rating from “sector perform” by analysts at RBC Capital.
- The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) was raised to “hold” from “sell” by analysts at ISI Group.
- Aastrom Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTM) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Roth Capital with a target price of $2.30.
- Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (NYSE:AWI) was lowered to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Barclays Capital with a target price of $48.
- bebe stores, inc. (NASDAQ:BEBE) was cut to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at Janney Montgomery Scot.
- East West Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:EWBC) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at DA Davidson with a target price of $24.
- Hibbett Sports, Inc. (NASDAQ:HIBB) was lowered to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Raymond James.
- L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:LLL) was cut to “underweight” from “hold” by analysts at BB&T Capital Markets.
- Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (NYSE:PEG) was downgraded to “underweight” from “equal weight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley with a target price of $31.
- Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ:STX) was lowered to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus.
- Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (NYSE:SWK) was cut to “equal weight” from “overweight” by analysts at Barclays Capital with a target price of $75.
- The Toro Company (NYSE:TTC) was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Raymond James.
- Wintrust Financial Corp (NASDAQ:WTFC) was lowered to “market perform” from “outperform” by analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods with a target price of $38.