Friday Post Market Company, Economic and Hedge Fund News

Friday Post Market Company, Economic and Hedge Fund News

Friday Post Market Company, Economic and Hedge Fund NewsEvery afternoon we provides an update on global market levels, economic news, and hedge fund news.

 Market Levels

 * US: Dow: 13038.30 (-1.27%), S&P 500: 1369.10 (-1.61%), NASDAQ: 2956.34 (-2.25%)

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* Europe: CAC: 3161.97 (-1.94%), DAX: 6561.47 (-2.03%), FTSE: 5655.06 (-1.97%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4396.00 (-0.75%), China: 2452.01 (0.49%), Hong Kong: 21086.00 (-0.78%), India: 5086.85 (-1.96%), Japan: 9380.25 (0.00%).

* Metals: Gold: 1645.20 (0.64%), Silver: 30.43 (1.41%), Copper: 3.72 (-0.40%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 98.49 (-3.95%), Natural Gas: 2.28 (-2.61%)

* Commodities: Corn: 6.20 (0.94%), Soya Bean: 13.66 (-0.07%), Wheat: 6.09 (-0.97%)

* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3084 (0.53%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6160 (0.16%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 79.8150 (-0.46%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 1.877% (-0.054)

Market and Economy News Update

 U.S. markets end lower: Markets ended lower on Friday after a disappointing reading from the jobs market intensified concerns about the strength of the economic recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) fell for the third consecutive session, tumbling 1.27 percent, to close at 13,038.27. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) posted its biggest weekly drop this year, to finish at 1,369.10, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) plunged 2.25 percent, to end at 2,956.34.

 Oil prices tumble: Oil prices tumbled to the lowest level since early February, as weaker than expected reading on U.S. employment soured economic sentiment. Crude oil for June delivery plunged $4.05 to $98.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for June settlement declined 2.5 percent to end the session at $113.18 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Company News Update

 * Risk and insurance brokerage service provider Aon PLC (NYSE:AON) reported first quarter profit excluding some items of 98 cents a shares, below the average analyst estimate of $1.06 a share. Top line results were up 3 percent and in line with street expectations.

* Fluor Corporation (NYSE:FLR), the largest publicly traded U.S. construction company reported first quarter net profit rose of $155 million, or 91 cents per share, better than the 87 cents per share that analysts were expecting.

* Natural gas producer Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE:SWN) reported first quarter earnings of 31 cents per share, and sales of $656.5 million, that missed analysts’ estimates.

* Toy maker LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:LF) posted better than expected first quarter results, helped by robust demand for its LeapPad learning tablet, and raised its full-year guidance.

* Clothing maker Warnaco Group Inc (NYSE:WRC) posted first quarter earnings from continuing operations of 90 cents a share, trailing the average analyst estimate of 93 cents a share.

* Toning down its plans to repurchase its stock, United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) approved a new $5 billion share buyback program, freeing up cash for its proposed acquisition of Dutch rival TNT Express.

* The Food and Drug Administration denied marketing approval to Alexza Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXA)’s schizophrenic and bipolar disorder treatment Adasuve, citing manufacturing deficiencies.

* GeoEye Inc. (NASDAQ:GEOY), a provider of geospatial information, has offered to buy rival DigitalGlobe Inc (NYSE:DGI) for $792 million in cash and stock.

Hedge Fund News Update

* Private-equity and hedge fund manager, Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE:FIG), posted a first quarter loss of $24.1 million, but the results still beat Wall Street expectations. The New York-based Fortress said assets under management totaled $46.43 billion at the end of the first quarter, up from $43.71 billion at the end of the fourth quarter.

* Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors bought 132,821 shares of Clearwater Paper Corp (NYSE:CLW) on May 1 at $32 per share, increasing his total holding to 6.32 percent of shares outstanding. Cohen also bought 2,671,372 shares of Select Comfort Corp. (NASDAQ:SCSS), the bed manufacturer and retailer, on April 30 at an average price of $29.

* Hugh Hendry of Eclectica Asset Management said that China is headed for some tough time ahead, with its twin problems of a massive property bubble and falling demand for its exports.

* PDuff & Phelps Corp (NYSE:DUF) is struggling to raise capital from institutional investors. The Greenwich, Connecticut-based firm, launched last year, has also cut more than half of its staff, according to a Bloomberg article.

* According to a quarterly report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Carl Icahn has sold a net $3.7 billion of securities in the three months ended March 31.

* Hedge fund Jana Partners LLC sold around 1 million shares of Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) at $24.42 each, on the same day that Microsoft announced its $605 million investment in the book seller.

* Singapore-based Vulpes Investment Management, set up by hedge-fund manager Stephen Diggle, plans to raise as much as US$150 million for an agriculture fund.

* New York-based asset management firm Permal Group has hired former head of distribution at Skybridge Capital, Max Osborne as senior vice president and head of US domestic distribution.

* Hedge fund governance advisory firm, Carne Group has hired Fred Schilling, the former senior managing director at Bear Stearns, as a managing director in its U.S. office.

Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Friday, May 04, 2012

 * The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL) was raised to “overweight” from “equal weight” at Barclays with a target price of $39.

* Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAWW) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Maxim Group with a target price of $65.

* BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Standpoint Research with a target price of $210.

* Constant Contact, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTCT) was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Stifel Nicolaus with a target price of $33.

* Parkway Prop Inc (NYSE:PKY) was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Stifel Nicolaus with a target price of $11.5.

 * BioMed Realty Trust Inc (NYSE:BMR) was downgraded from “buy” to “hold” at Stifel Nicolaus.

* Gen-Probe Incorporated (NASDAQ:GPRO) was cut from “outperform” to “neutral” at Robert W. Baird with a target price of $83.

* Mednax Inc. (NYSE:MD) was downgraded from “buy” to “hold” at Deutsche Bank with a target price of $73.

* Prudential Financial Inc (NYSE:PRU) was cut from “overweight” to “equal weight” at Barclays with a target price of $62.

* Two Harbors Investment Corp (NYSE:TWO) was downgraded from “buy” to “neutral” at Ladenburg Thalmann.

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