Wall Street hits session lows – Mid Day Market Update

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  • US:  Dow: 12799.11 (-0.61%), S&P 500: 1348.31 (-0.16%), NASDAQ: 2934.32 (0.09%)
  • Europe: CAC: 3390.35 (0.43%), DAX: 6797.94 (0.44%), FTSE: 5892.16 (-0.13%).
  • Asia:China: 2366.70 (0.93%),Hong Kong: 21365.23 (2.09%),India: 5531.95 (2.10%), Japan: 9260.34 (2.25%)
  • Metals: Gold: 1728.90 (0.65%), Silver: 33.40 (0.17%), Copper: 3.81 (-0.16%)
  • Energy: Crude Oil: 101.67 (0.92%), Natural Gas: 2.42 (-4.54%)
  • Commodities: Corn: 6.27 (-1.03%), Soya Bean: 12.59 (0.32%), Wheat: 6.26 (-1.38%)
  • Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3077 (-0.4352%), GBP/USD: 1.5707 (0.0945%), USD/JPY: 78.2153 (-0.2824%)
  • 10 year US Treasury: 1.905% (-0.031)

Market News Update


Wall Street hits session lows: U.S. stocks were mixed early Wednesday as investors were encouraged by better-than-expected European economic data and China’s support for the eurozone, but kept a wary eye on developments in Greece. Stocks accelerated their sell off in midday trading Wednesday as traders remained worried over Greece. http://www.cnbc.com/id/46396650


NY Fed Factory Activity at Highest since June 2010: A gauge of manufacturing in New York State picked up in February to its highest level in more than 1-1/2 years, though the pace of new orders slowed, the New York Federal Reserve said in a report on Wednesday. The New York Fed’s “Empire State” general business conditions index climbed to 19.53 from 13.48 in January, topping economists’ expectations for 15.0. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/2012/02/15/ny-fed-manufacturing-growth-highest-since-june-2010/


Oil rises to one month high: Oil rose to a one-month high after reports that Iran halted shipments to Europe and U.S. inventories declined. Futures climbed as much as 1.8 percent as Iran’s state-run Press TV said exports were cut to Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands, without citing anyone. The state- run Fars news agency said Iran warned the nations without cutting exports. The Energy Department reported U.S. oil supplies dropped the first time in four weeks. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-15/oil-futures-advance-to-one-month-high-on-report-of-iranian-export-cut.html


Gold rises: Gold futures rebounded after three consecutive sessions of losses, taking cues from upbeat sentiment in other markets after better-than-expected European economic data and signs that China may increase its support for the euro zone. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204792404577225014000440048.html?mod=WSJ_Markets_MIDDLETopStories


Company News Update

  • Shares of Zynga (ZNGA) were down sharply after the social gaming company posted a net loss of $404 million for its full fiscal year due to large stock-based compensation expenses.
  • Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) rallied 5.1 percent after the largestU.S. cable company authorized a $6.5 billion buyback as profit jumped 26 percent.
  • Kellogg Co. (K) advanced 5.3 percent after agreeing to acquire Procter & Gamble Co’s (PG) Pringles potato chip business for about $2.7 billion in cash.
  • Shares of Hartford Financial (HIG) spiked after hedge fund manager John Paulson ramped up pressure on the company, calling for it to spin off the property-and-casualty business from the life insurance business. Paulson trimmed his stake in the company during the fourth quarter, but remainsHartford’s largest shareholder.
  • Devon Energy’s (DVN) stock moved higher on the company’s higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, as production of oil and gas rose.
  • Deere & Co. (DE), the largest maker of agricultural equipment, fell the most in three months after lowering its forecast forU.S. farmer revenue, an indicator of demand for its signature green-and-yellow machines.
  • BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc. (BPAX) surged the most in 10 years after the testosterone replacement therapy it developed for men wonU.S. regulatory approval.
  • Shares of Dean Foods (DF) jumped after the company’s fourth-quarter loss narrowed compared to a year earlier.
  • Network equipment maker Cisco (CSCO) has appealed the European Commission’s approval of Microsoft’s (MSF) acquisition of Internet voice and video service Skype, saying the commission should have put tougher conditions on the deal.
  • Toyota‘s luxury brand Lexus topped a vehicle dependability survey of owners of 3-year-old cars and trucks as model-year 2009 vehicles improved to record-high quality levels, J.D. Power & Associates said on Wednesday.
  • Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) surged even after the retailer’s fourth-quarter profit fell from a year ago.
  • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR), the maker of Keurig single-serve brewers and capsules, will begin selling a higher-priced coffee machine in a bid to compete with Nestle SA (NESN)’s latte and cappuccino makers.


Hedge Fund News Update


  • The U.S. Federal Communications Commission vowed to block LightSquared Inc. after the Obama administration found the wireless venture backed by hedge-fund billionaire Philip Falcone would disrupt navigation gear.
  • Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, the New York-based hedge fund run by billionaire Phil Falcone, is seeking to sell shares in Brazilian iron-ore producer Ferrous Resources Ltd. to raise cash for loan repayments.
  • Hedge fund manager Kyle Bass, who made $500 million betting against subprime debt in the crash, is raising a fund to buy home loan securities. He’s joining Greg Lippmann, a former Deutsche Bank AG trader, and John Paulson, who made $15 billion in 2007, in betting on default prone mortgages. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and American International Group Inc. (AIG) have also emerged as buyers this year as trading more than doubled for non-agency mortgage notes.
  • Event-driven hedge fund managers, including $7bn firm Cheyne Capital, have been buying GlobeOp shares in recent weeks as speculation continues over whether a higher acquisition bid will come in for the administrator.
  • Leading hedge fund managers including David Tepper, Andreas Halvorsen and David Einhorn smartly added to their holdings of Apple (AAPL) in the fourth quarter after the death of Steve Jobs. Shares of Apple are up 26 percent this year, equaling their 26 percent rise for all of 2011.
  • Third Point LLC, the hedge fund run by Daniel Loeb, added to shares of Yahoo! Inc. and Sara Lee Corp. in the fourth quarter, according to a regulatory filing today.
  • Billionaire investor George Soros’s Soros Fund Management LLC reported sharply higher positions in Google Inc. (GOOG), Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) in the fourth quarter, but no stake in e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN).
  • Hedge fund manager John Paulson Tuesday increased the pressure on Hartford Insurance Group to break itself up into separate property and casualty and life businesses by taking the case directly toHartford shareholders.
  • A new survey by AlphaMetrix Global Marketplace found that a majority of investors in hedge funds, commodity trading advisors and private equity funds expect to increase their allocations to those private investments in 2012.
  • Ken Griebell has joined Ramius LLC, the global alternative investment management business of Cowen Group, Inc., inNew York as a Director.
  • A number of big-name US hedge funds cut or quit their Gold ETF positions in the last 3 months of 2011, new data showed Tuesday, as the precious metal extended its most volatile period since the Lehman Brother’s collapse of 2008. Paulson & Co. reduced by 15% its $3.2bn position in the SPDR Gold Trust. Vinik Asset Management in Boston, which manages some $6bn in total, cut its $500m position in the same Gold ETF by more than one fifth, while Connecticut-based Tudor Investment, which manages some $11bn, sold all of its $32m position in the trust.
  • Thomas Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist and founder of hedge fund Farallon Capital Management, has made a big bet on a rebound in the economy by buying energy and industrial stocks, including El Paso (EP) and Goodrich (GR).
  • CI Financial Corp. is venturing further into the Canadian hedge fund arena, saying it has bought a “significant minority interest” in fledgling firm Lawrence Park Capital Partners Ltd.


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