Thursday Economic, Stock and Hedge Fund News

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Thursday Economic, Stock and Hedge Fund NewsEvery afternoon we provide an update on global market levels, economic news, and hedge fund news.

 Post Market Update

 Market Levels

 * US: Dow: 12855.00 (0.16%), S&P 500: 1357.99 (0.25%), NASDAQ: 2933.64 (-0.04%)

* Europe: CAC: 3130.17 (0.37%), DAX: 6518.00 (0.65%), FTSE: 5543.95 (0.25%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4295.60 (0.48%), China: 2410.23 (0.07%), Hong Kong: 20227.28 (-0.51%), India: 4965.70 (-0.18%), Japan: 9009.65 (-0.39%).

* Metals: Gold: 1595.50 (0.08%), Silver: 29.18 (-0.22%), Copper: 3.69 (0.85%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 97.08 (0.28%), Natural Gas: 2.49 (0.89%)

* Commodities: Corn: 5.87 (-3.25%), Soya Bean: 13.59 (1.91%), Wheat: 6.01 (0.21%)

* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.2950 (-0.12%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6155 (-0.16%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 79.9650 (0.43%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 1.879% (0.056)


Market and Economy News Update

 Dow ends higher: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) snapped a six-day losing streak, and ended 0.2 percent higher, as investors welcomed a decline in American jobless claims, amid ongoing uncertainty in Greece. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) advanced 0.3 percent to 1357.99, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) fell 1.07 points to 2933.64.

U.S. posted a budget surplus in April: The Treasury Department said that the U.S. government posted a budget surplus in April for the first in more than three years. The Treasury said it had a surplus of $59.12 billion in April, compared with a $40.39 billion deficit in April 2011. Economists had projected a surplus of $35 billion.

 Oil prices rise: Oil prices rose for the first time in seven days as new U.S. claims for jobless benefits edged down last week, adding to investor optimism that demand in the world’s biggest oil consumer will grow. Crude oil for June delivery gained 0.3 percent, to settle at $97.08 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for June settlement fell 0.4 percent, to $112.73 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Company News Update

 * Freddie Mac, the second largest provider of US mortgage money, has said that Donald H. Layton, the former chief executive of online brokerage E*Trade Financial Corp, will be the next chief executive officer.

* The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) is relocating its skin care, cosmetics, and personal care headquarters to Singapore from Cincinnati to be closer to the rapidly growing Asian market. The company also announced that Virginia Drosos, group president for the unit, chose to retire in order to keep her family in the U.S.

* Los Angeles-based investment management firm Oaktree Capital Group LLC (NYSE:OAK) reported a higher first quarter net income of $18.6 million, or 82 cents a share, as it earned more from management fees, and said assets under management rose to $77.9 billion from $74.9 billion on December 31.

* Communications and technology solutions provider Windstream Corporation (NASDAQ:WIN) posted lower than expected first quarter results, and handed in a disappointing quarterly guidance.

* Beverly Hills-based Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:LYV), the world’s biggest concert promoter and ticket seller, reported a narrower than expected first quarter loss, and announced the acquisition of Cream Holdings, a UK-based electronic music company.

* Internet search services company InfoSpace, Inc. (NASDAQ:INSP) reported a surge in first quarter profit and forecast second quarter revenue of at least $92.5 million that topped analysts’ estimates.

* Wholesale club operator Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) raised its quarterly dividend by 15 percent, which will be payable on June 08, 2012, to stockholders of record on May 25, 2012, with an ex-dividend date of May 23, 2012.

* Mobile audio technology firm Audience Inc (NASDAQ:ADNC) closed 12.3 percent higher in its market debut, after pricing the IPO higher than expected.

* Biopharmaceutical company AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAG) has appointed William K. Heiden as its new president and chief executive officer, a day after the maker of the anemia drug Feraheme said it is no longer considering selling itself.

* Information technology services company Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ:VRTU) said it will buy back as much as $15 million of its stock.

Hedge Fund News Update

* The $50 billion Massachusetts state pension fund has hired New York-based Arden Asset Management to help move money away from hedge funds of funds directly into a select number of hedge funds in order to save on fees.

* Billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen has disclosed a 5 percent stake in online real estate database, Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z) and a 5.1 percent stake in, Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP), this week.

* Larry Robbins’ Glenview Capital has last week increased his stake in URS Corp (NYSE:URS), the provider of engineering and construction services, according to a Form 13G filing.

* Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) has redeemed about $250 million from hedge funds during the first quarter, ahead of the U.S.’s new Volcker rule that will limit banks’ ability to keep money in hedge funds and private equity.

* Zoe Cruz, the former co-president of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), is closing her $200 million hedge fund, Voras Capital Management LP, and will return money to investors within the next few months. Voras lost 8 percent last year and has struggled to raise money.

* Paul Singer, the founder of the $20 billion hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. is shorting long-term government bonds, saying that they are trading at extreme levels, according to a Bloomberg report.

* Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE:FIG) said it will close its commodities fund, Fortress Commodities Fund LP, and return the money to investors. The fund lost almost 13 percent in the past four months, and was down 4.2 percent in April.

* Kyle Bass, the founder of Heyman Capital, has warned that Japan might follow Europe and develop a debt crisis of its own.

* Credit Suisse’s Asset Management Division has launched the new Credit Suisse Liquid Alternative Fund that intends to deliver the returns of the Dow Jones Credit Suisse Hedge Fund Index.

* New York-based hedge fund Touradji Capital Management LP said that Paul Crone, the head of commodity trading, has left the firm, and will be replaced by the former head of research at Tudor Investment Corp., Peter Borish.

Brokerage Upgrades and Downgrades on Thursday, May 10, 2012

 * Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. (NASDAQ:BECN) was raised to “buy” from “hold” at KeyBanc Capital Mkts with a target price of $31.

* Big Lots, Inc. (NYSE:BIG) was upgraded to “overweight” from “equal weight” at Barclays with a target price of $43.

* The EW Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP) was raised to “buy” from “hold” at The Benchmark Company with a target price of $11.

* JDS Uniphase Corporation (NASDAQ:JDSU) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at UBS with a target price of $14.5.

* Post Properties Inc (NYSE:PPS) was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Wunderlich with a target price of $58.

 * AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAG) was cut to “neutral” from “outperform” at Robert W. Baird with a target price of $17.

* Echelon Corporation (NASDAQ:ELON) was downgraded to “sell” from “neutral” at Dougherty & Company with a target price of $3.25.

* FTI Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:FCN) was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” at Northland Securities with a target price of $35.

* Macerich Co (NYSE:MAC) was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at UBS with a target price of $61.

* Transdigm Group Incorporated (NYSE:TDG) was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at BB&T Capital Mkts


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