Friday (12/30/11) Mid-Day Market Report

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 Mid-Day Market Action


  • US:  Dow: 12251.50 (-0.29%), S&P 500: 1261.68 (-0.11%), NASDAQ: 2614.91 (0.05%)
  • Europe: CAC: 3159.81 (1.02%), DAX: 5898.35 (0.84%), FTSE: 5572.28 (0.10%).
  • Asia:Australia: 4056.60 (-0.36%),China: 2199.42 (1.18%),Hong Kong: 18434.39 (0.20%),India: 4624.30 (-0.47%),Japan: 8455.35 (0.67%),Korea: 1825.74 (0.03%),Singapore: 2646.35 (-1.00%),
  • Metals: Gold: 1572.60 (2.06 %), Silver: 27.98 (2.43%), Copper: 3.43 (1.88%)
  • Energy: Crude Oil: 99.50 (-0.15%), Natural Gas: 2.99 (-1.09%)
  • Agriculture: Corn: 6.45 (1.06%), Soya Bean: 12.01 (1.14%), Wheat: 6.53 (1.12%).
  • Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2963 (0.0171%), GBP/USD: 1.5513 (0.6258%), USD/JPY: 77.0133 (-0.8028%)
  • 10 year US Treasury: 1.874% (-0.024)


Market News Update


US markets flat: U.S. stocks were little changed on the final trading day of 2011, as investors put the finishing touches on what has been one of the most volatile years in recent memory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22 points, or 0.2%, to 12265. The Dow rallied 136 points on Thursday, nearly recovering Wednesday’s entire drop. The blue-chip index is up about 2% for the month and 6% in 2011.The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index lost 1 point, or 0.1%, to 1262. The S&P 500 is clinging to a 0.3% gain for the year. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 1 point, or 0.04%, to 2615.


Oil heads for third yearly gain: Oil prices were near flat on Friday in choppy end-year trading while approaching a third straight yearly gain.Europe’s debt crisis and slowing Chinese factories thwarted moves higher while geopolitical supply worries were supportive. Light holiday-week trading volumes allowed for sharp price moves andIran’s navy drill in theStrait of Hormuz, along with internal tensions inIraq,Syria andNigeria, helped limit losses even afterU.S. government data showed crude oil stocks rose last week.


European shares post steepest annual fall in 3-years: European shares rose on Friday but still recorded their biggest annual drop since the onset of the financial crisis as debt tensions in the euro zone strained the financial sector and threatened to derail a fragile economic recovery.


Natural gas slips below $3: Natural-gas futures dropped below the $3 threshold for the first time in more than two years Friday, as the market looks set to close out one of its most bearish years ever.


Chinese manufacturing slows in December: China’s manufacturing sector performed weaker than initially thought in December, according to a survey compiled by HSBC. HSBC revised its China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index down to 48.7 in December. That’s down from an initial estimate of 49, reported by HSBC two weeks ago.


Company News Update


  • Verizon Wireless (VZ), the largest U.S. mobile carrier, defended its $2 “convenience fee” after customers criticized the charge aimed at users who make single bill payments on a month-to-month basis online or by phone. Verizon Wireless is adding the fee to address costs it incurs for processing such payments, according to an e-mailed statement from the company.
  • Ford Motor Co. (F) said it exceeded sales of $2 million for the first year since 2007, led by gains for models such as the Fiesta small car and revamped Explorer sport-utility vehicle. Smaller cars such as the Fiesta and Focus are on pace for a sales increase of more than 20 percent this year while light trucks that include the Explorer, Escape SUV and F-150 pickup may rise at least 30 percent, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company said today in a statement.
  • Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM)’s BlackBerry smartphone, which lost its No. 4 spot to Apple Inc. (AAPL) in the U.S. in the first half, fell further behind the iPhone maker and market leader Samsung Electronics Co. after new models failed to attract enough users. RIM’s share of U.S. mobile-phone subscribers in the three months through November dropped to 6.5 percent from 7.1 percent in the previous quarter, research firm ComScore Inc. (SCOR) said.
  • Sales of Sony Corp. (6758)’s PlayStation Vita, the company’s latest handheld game machine, declined last week after initial demand at the product’s debut, according to a researcher Media Create Co. Sales totaled 72,479 units during the week ended Dec. 25, down from 324,859 units sold during the two days after the Dec. 17 introduction of the product, the Tokyo-based researcher said on its website.
  • Embattled Swiss-based oil refiner Petroplus has obtained a provisional financing agreement with its lenders while they negotiate a solution to keep the debt-laden group afloat, a source close to the matter said on Friday.


Hedge Fund News Update


  • Wall Street dealers made it tougher for hedge funds to finance trading of securities and derivatives in the three months through November, a Federal Reserve survey showed today.
  • According to a new study conducted by Gjergji Cici of the College of William and Mary, and Alexander Kempf and Alexander Puetz of the University of Cologne, the valuations hedge funds report for their stocks in quarterly filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission are sometimes at odds with actual stock prices. The economists say the results, which they’ll present at the American Finance Association’s annual meeting inChicago next week, suggest hedge funds “take advantage of lax regulation by strategically fudging equity position valuations to impress…potential or existing clients.”
  • Hedge funds have sprung up on retail investors’ radar in recent years, bolstered by conspicuously strong performance during 2008?s market crash and the rebound in the two years that followed. While 2011 has admittedly been a tough year for hedge fund investors, with a new trading year just a few sessions away, investors are looking for a new set of investment ideas for 2012, according to a news report in the Forbes.
  • Billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen wants to buy Major League Baseball team, Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • A Manhattanhedge fund manager assured the family of a Brooklynwoman who was torched in her building’s elevator that he will help them pay for a Friday memorial service, saying that a “glitch” delayed his donation. Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James said that hedge fund manager Darren Weingrow assured her that he would pay for the service for Deloris Gillespie.
  • SAC Capital Advisers LP, a $14 billion hedge fund run by Steven Cohen, bought a 5.7% share in Cheniere Energy Inc.
  • An Atlantahedge fund firm is now the second largest stockholder in the J. Alexander’s restaurant chain. Privet Fund Management owns 547,881 shares or approximately 9.1% of the outstanding common stock of the Nashville-based franchise, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.


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