Midday Market News – April 03, 2012

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Midday Market News - April 03, 2012Every afternoon ValueWalk provides an update on global market levels, economic news, and hedge fund news.

Market Levels

 * US: Dow: 13144.22 (-0.91%), S&P 500: 1405.28 (-0.97%), NASDAQ: 3098.55 (-0.67%)

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* Europe: CAC: 3406.78 (-1.65%), DAX: 6982.28 (-1.07%), FTSE: 5838.34 (-0.63%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4337.00 (0.18%), China: 2262.79 (0.00%), Hong Kong: 20790.98 (1.29%), India: 5358.50 (0.76%), Japan: 10050.39 (-0.59%).

* Metals: Gold: 1656.30 (-0.94%), Silver: 32.74 (-1.59%), Copper: 3.89 (-0.64%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 103.83 (-1.33%), Natural Gas: 2.18 (1.12%)

* Commodities: Corn: 6.63 (1.22%), Soya Bean: 14.15 (-0.39%), Wheat: 6.58 (0.23%)

* Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3227 (-0.70%), GBP/USD: 1.5900 (-0.77%), USD/JPY: 82.9300 (1.05%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 2.266% (0.077)

Market and Economy News Update

U.S. markets in the red: Markets were trading in the red after Fed members expressed concern about a global economic slowdown despite signs of improvement in the U.S. economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were down close to 0.8 percent, while the NASDAQ (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) slipped 0.5 percent lower.

U.S. factory orders climbed 1.3 percent in February: The Commerce Department said on Tuesday, orders to U.S. factories increased 1.3 percent in February, boosted by demand for business equipment. Economists were expecting a rise of 1.5 percent. Orders totaled $468.4 billion in February, and have been steadily rising since the recession ended nearly three years.

U.S. auto-sales surge in March: U.S. auto sales increased more than 15 percent in March, as more and more buyers look to replace their aging cars for fuel-efficient vehicles. General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. reported gains of 12 percent and 5 percent, respectively, while sales at Toyota Motor Corp. rose 15 percent. Chrysler Group LLC recorded a jump of 34 percent in new-vehicle sales.

 Oil down more than a percent: Oil prices fell on Tuesday for the first time in three days, as traders anticipated another increase in weekly crude inventories. Oil for May delivery slipped 1.3 percent at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for May settlement fell 22 to $125.21 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Company News Update

* Financial stocks were among biggest losers on Tuesday with Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) all down more than 2 percent.

* General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) slumped more than 5 percent after reporting a lower than expected jump of 11.8 percent in March auto sales.

* Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) fell 1 percent after the auto-maker posted a 34 percent increase in U.S. sales for the month.

* Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) gained 1.4 percent after Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos., raised the 12-month price target for the world’s most valuable company to $910 from $718.

* Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN) gained the most in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, rising 4.5 percent, after it was raised to “neutral” from “sell” at Citigroup Inc.

* Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) increased its quarterly dividend by 16 percent to $0.25 from $0.215. The stock was trading 0.7 percent lower.

* Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ), the world’s largest wine company, rose 2.3 percent, after it was raised to “buy” from “neutral” at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

* Electronics and home-appliance retailer, Conn’s, Inc. (NASDAQ:CONN) surged 16 percent after it hiked its profit outlook for the current fiscal year.

* Guidewire Software Inc (NYSE:GWRE), the provider of software to property and casualty insurers, slipped 4.5 percent, after, yesterday post market close, it filed a secondary offering of as much as 7.5 million shares,.

Hedge Fund News Update

* Hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb yesterday launched a Web site and Facebook page to push for a management shakeup at Yahoo Inc, in which he holds a 5.8 percent stake. ValueYahoo.com went live on Monday, and Loeb is using the website to garner support, in his battle with Yahoo Inc, ahead of the internet company’s annual meeting in June.

* Former Nomura Holdings Inc trader Benjamin Fuchs will launch a multi-strategy, trading oriented hedge fund on June 1 that will primarily focus on the Asia Pacific region. The Hong Kong-based fund is aiming to raise $500 million at the initial stage.

* According to a filing with France’s AMF financial regulator, UK-based hedge fund Parvus Asset Management has acquired a 16.6 percent stake in French ad group Havas. Parvus however said that it has no intention of taking control of Havas or seeking representation on its board.

* The £972.4m ($1.56bn) pension plan for the London Borough of Camden has appointed BlueCrest Capital Management to run a £50m fund of hedge fund mandate. BlueCrest was shortlisted from the final list of five, which included Aurum Funds, Blackstone Group, Brevan Howard Asset Management and Prisma Capital Partners.

* Hedge fund service provider Maples Fund Services has appointed Steve Lewis as director of European business development, who will be responsible for expanding the fund administration and middle-office businesses across the firm’s European offices.

* Director of corporate governance at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Anne Simpson, has been elected to the board of the Council of Institutional Investors (CII), at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

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