Wednesday Market, Company and Hedge Fund News

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Wednesday Market, Company and Hedge Fund News

Every afternoon we provides an update on global market levels, economic news, and hedge fund news.

Market Levels

 * US: Dow: 13090.70 (0.69%), S&P 500: 1390.69 (1.36%), NASDAQ: 3029.63 (2.30%)

* Europe: CAC: 3233.46 (1.98%), DAX: 6704.50 (1.70%), FTSE: 5718.89 (0.16%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4360.40 (0.00%), China: 2406.81 (0.75%), Hong Kong: 20646.29 (-0.15%), India: 5202.00 (-0.40%), Japan: 9561.01 (0.97%).

* Metals: Gold: 1645.10 (0.08%), Silver: 30.68 (-0.21%), Copper: 3.71 (1.03%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 104.12 (0.55%), Natural Gas: 2.07 (4.71%)

* Commodities: Corn: 6.01 (-1.15%), Soya Bean: 13.70 (1.37%), Wheat: 6.26 (-0.95%)

* Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3217 (-0.17%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6163 (-0.13%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 81.3250 (0.01%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 1.984% (0.011)

Market and Economy News Update

 U.S. markets jump higher: Markets closed near the highs of the day as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke reiterated the central bank’s preparedness to take action to help the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) ended the day 0.7 percent higher, led by The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP), while the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) gained 1.4 percent to 1,390.79. The NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) soared more than 2 percent to hit a four-month high.

 Oil rises: Oil rose in choppy trading in New York and settled above the $104 mark, despite larger-than-expected increase in U.S. inventories. Crude oil for May delivery gained 0.55 percent to $104.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for June settlement increased 0.8 percent to end the session at $119.12 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Company News Update

 * Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG) reported first-quarter net income of $172 million, or 74 cents a share, compared with $119.3 million, or 51 cents per share, a year earlier, and boosted its shipments forecast for the year from 245,000 to 250,000 motorcycles worldwide. Analysts were expecting a profit of 71 cents a share.

* E. I. Du Pont De Nemours And Company (NYSE:DD) raised its quarterly dividend by 4.9 percent from 41 cents to 43 cents a share, which will be paid on June 12 to shareholders of record on May 15.

* Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) increased its second-quarter dividend by 21 percent from 47 cents a share to 57 cents a share, and will cost the world’s largest publicly traded oil company about $1.9 billion more a year.

* Indianapolis-based insurer WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP) said first-quarter net income fell nearly 8 percent to $856.5 million, or $2.53 per share, from $926.6 million, or $2.44 per share, a year earlier, as enrollment slipped and expenses rose. Earnings excluding one-time items were $2.34 a share, which topped the analysts’ average estimate of $2.30 a share.

* C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHRW), the transportation-services company said first-quarter net income increased to $106.50 million or 65 cents per share, from $97.03 million or 59 cents per share in the same quarter last year, which was inline with analysts’ estimates.

* Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW), the largest maker of glass for flat-panel television sets, reported first- quarter earnings excluding some items of 30 cents a share, which was better than the average analyst estimate of 28 cents a share.

* Energy company Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) posted first-quarter profit excluding some items of $1.49 a share, which was lower than the average analyst estimate of $1.53 a share.

* Auto parts company Dana Holding Corporation (NYSE:DAN) posted a first quarter profit of $62 million, or 33 cents per share, reversing a loss in the same period last year. Excluding one-time items, the company earned 44 cents per share, topping the 41 cents analysts had expected.

* Houston oil and gas explorer Halcon Resources Corp (NYSE:HK) agreed to buy GeoResources, Inc. (NASDAQ:GEOI) for about $1 billion in cash and stock.

* New Jersey-based Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE:WPI) has agreed to acquire Swiss rival Actavis Group for 4.5 billion euros ($5.92 billion).

Hedge Fund News Update

* Rothstein Kass, the New Jersey-based financial services group, in a survey of 400 hedge fund managers, found that around 48 percent of the managers expected the current year to be tough for the sector, with nearly 40 percent raising concerns that the U.S. could enter a ‘double-dip’ recession.

* Calgary-based Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (TSE:CP), in which Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP is the biggest shareholder, has increased its dividend by the most in at least 10 years from 30 Canadian cents to 35 Canadian cents a share.

* Hidetoshi Ohashi, the Tokyo-based credit strategist and head of fixed-income research at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), will leave the bank at the end of June, to start a Singapore-based hedge fund.

* Pennsylvania-based hedge fund firm Spartus Capital Management has appointed Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) to deliver hedge fund middle office services.

* Eli Combs, one of the founding members of New York-based Alden Global Capital, has teamed up with Matt Meehan and Jim Plohg to launch a hedge fund firm, MeehanCombs LP that will focus on investing in global credit opportunities.

* Arthur Roulac, the former managing director in charge of the high-yield and distressed securities research group at Nomura Securities International, who set up New York-based investment manager Three Court, is preparing to launch his maiden hedge fund, a distressed debt offering which is expected to debut with $20m in July this year.

* Hedge fund administrator ISIS Fund Services has been granted a corporate services license by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority to establish a new subsidiary with an official Cayman address.

* Toronto hedge fund Parkwood GP Inc. has been accused of improperly trading through a third party to evade the Ontario Securities Commission’s registration rules.

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