Market News: Housing Starts Soar

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Market Update



Market Action


  • US:  Dow: 12898.67 (0.92%), S&P 500: 1356.62 (1.00%), NASDAQ: 2955.26 (1.35%)
  • Europe: CAC: 3393.25 (0.09%), DAX: 6751.96 (-0.09%), FTSE: 5885.38 (-0.12%).
  • Asia:China: 2356.86 (-0.42%),Hong Kong: 21277.28 (-0.41%),India: 5521.95 (-0.18%),Japan: 9238.10 (-0.24%)
  • Metals: Gold: 1729.20 (0.06%), Silver: 33.48 (0.20%), Copper: 3.81 (0.11%)
  • Energy: Crude Oil: 102.37 (0.56%), Natural Gas: 2.56 (5.53%)
  • Commodities: Corn: 6.34 (1.12%), Soya Bean: 12.61 (0.00%), Wheat: 6.26 (0.04%)
  • Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3109 (0.33%), GBP/USD: 1.5792 (0.63%), USD/JPY: 78.8700 (0.55%)
  • 10 year US Treasury: 1.986% (0.059)


Market News Update


US markets rise on positive economic data: U.S. stocks moved solidly higher Thursday as positive domestic economic data comforted investors nervous about Greece’s ability to secure a second bailout. Unemployment figures and housing numbers released ahead of the market’s open continued to paint a picture of the U.S. economy on the verge of a comeback. The Dow Jones industrial average added 83 points, or 0.7%. The S&P 500 gained 7 points, or 0.6%. The NASDAQ added 15 points, or 0.5%.

Jobs, factory data positive: The number of Americans filing for new unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell to a near four-year low last week, suggesting the labor market recovery was quickening. Other data on Thursday showing solid expansion in factory activity in the Mid-Atlantic area this month and builders breaking more ground on new residential projects in January offered more evidence of a sustained momentum in the economy.

Housing starts climb more than expected in January: Housing starts rose more than expected in January as groundbreaking on rental property surged, boosting hopes the still-weak housing sector could help economic growth this year. The Commerce Department said on Thursday housing starts climbed 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 699,000 units.


Oil climbs to highest in five weeks: Oil advanced to a five-week high on optimism thatGreece will get a second bailout and asU.S. jobless claims dropped to the lowest level since 2008. Futures erased an earlier loss of 0.9 percent after Pantelis Kapsis, a government spokesman, saidGreece expects euro area finance ministers to approve a deal at a meeting on Feb. 20.


Company News Update




  • General Motors (GM) posted a record $7.6 billion net profit for 2011, making it the first year since 2004 that all Big Three automakers, GM, Ford (F) and Chrysler (DAI) were profitable.
  • DirectTV (DTV) beat earnings and sales estimates during the fourth quarter, with particular strength coming from the company’s presence inLatin America. DirectTV also announced a $6 billion stock buyback program.
  • Shares of J.M. Smucker (SJM) slid after the maker of Jif peanut butter and Folgers coffee posted a 11% drop in its fiscal third-quarter profit that was also below expectations.
  • Shares of Amazon (AMZN) were down after Apple (AAPL) asked the e-commerce company to halt sale of the iPad inChina. The move came after Apple lost a trademark dispute over the “iPad” name in Chinese courts. The company was also downgraded by Morgan Stanley analysts on Thursday on concern about competition from Apple Inc (AAPL) and slowing sales growth.
  • Travelers Cos. (TRV), the insurer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, cut about 1,400 jobs, or 4.4 percent of the workforce, in 2011 as the company had its least profitable year since 2004.
  • Nvidia’s (NVDA) stock tumbled a day after the company first-quarter revenue forecast fell short of Wall Street’s estimate.
  • CBS Corp. (CBS) dropped 0.7 percent to $29.35. The owner of the most-watchedU.S. television network posted fourth-quarter sales that missed analysts’ estimates as advertising declined.
  • NetApp (NTAP) rallied 5.3 percent to $41.98. The maker of data- storage products said revenue in the third quarter was $1.57 billion, above the average analyst estimate of $1.56 billion. The company said it won a record number of new customers and significantly increased the amount of units shipped.




Hedge Fund News Update


  • Star hedge fund managers like Steven Cohen of SAC Capital and James Simons of Renaissance Technologies added to their positions in tech giants offering cloud computing services during the fourth quarter, according to 13F filings for the period ending Dec. 31, 2011. Top hedge funds at the end of 2011 were investing in companies like Amazon (AMZN), Salesforce (CRM) and Rackspace (RAX) that let computers access information from remote servers.
  • Thomas Steyer’s Farallon Capital Management added about 1 million shares of Qualcomm Inc (QCOM) in the fourth-quarter. Shares of the telecommunications equipment manufacturer are up 12 percent in 2012.
  • Barry Rosenstein’s Jana Partners loaded up on 650,000 shares of Netflix (NFLX) in the fourth quarter, when the Internet TV and DVD delivery company’s shares were taking a pounding.
  • Paulson & Company, the fund run by John A. Paulson, reduced its exposure to the financial industry by more than 6 percent over all, according to Bloomberg. The fund, which had its worst year on record in 2011, sold 23.4 million shares of Wells Fargo stock during the fourth quarter and got rid of its entire 64-million-share stake in Bank of America.
  • Oaktree Capital Management, the California hedge fund started by Howard S. Marks, increased its positions in financial stocks by 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter, according to data from the company’s S.E.C. filing
  • Fairholme Capital Management, the fund run by Bruce R. Berkowitz, increased its financial stock positions by 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter, making money on investments in JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo as those banks’ stocks recovered from their autumn lows.

Event-driven hedge fund Tyrus Capital has made a strong start to 2012, one of several managers to benefit from this year’s revival in European corporate deal making. The flagship $1.8 billion (1.1 billion pounds) fund at the London-based

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