Market and Economy NewsUpdateU.S. markets drop over one percent: Markets accelerated their selloff in the final hour of trading on Friday and recorded their worst weekly decline for the year, as a slowdown in Chinese growth overshadowed a slew of better-than-expected earnings results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI), the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) and the NASDAQ (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) all closed deep in the red.
U.S. consumer prices rise in March: US consumer prices rose 0.3 per cent in March, in line with economists’ expectations, as falling electricity costs countered higher gasoline prices. The core consumer price index, which excludes more volatile food and energy costs, rose 0.2 percent after gaining 0.1 percent in February, Labor Department data showed today in Washington.
Consumer sentiment falls in April: The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index in early April dropped to 75.7 from 76.2 last month, as consumers felt more cautious about the current state of the economy. Economists were expecting the preliminary April reading to remain at 76.2.Oil prices fall: Oil prices fell on Friday and settled under $103, after data showed, China, the world’s No. 2 oil consumer, suffered its weakest first-quarter economic growth in nearly three years. Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi said today the kingdom is not happy at the prolonged period of high oil prices and is determined to see lower prices. Crude-oil futures for May delivery fell 0.8 percent to $102.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for May rose 10 cents to $121.81 a barrel on the London- based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Company News UpdateAmerican International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG), which is majority owned by the U.S. Treasury Department, said the U.S. may exit its stake in the insurer by next year. New York- based AIG last month bought back $3 billion of stock from the Treasury at $29 a share, reducing the U.S. stake to about 70 percent.Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR), the largest publicly traded U.S. hotel chain, is planning to double its operations in the Caribbean and Latin America by 2017 as the company looks to cope up with rising demand in the region.Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY)’s board of directors has hired Washington law firm WilmerHale as part of its investigation of Chief Executive Officer Brian Dunn’s personal conduct.
Cheniere Energy, Inc. (NYSEAMEX:LNG) ended 7.4 percent higher after Bloomberg reported the government may decide as soon as next week on Cheniere’s proposed liquefied natural gas export plant at Sabine Pass in Louisiana.Coal and natural gas producer, Consol Energy Inc. (NYSE:CNX) was cut to “neutral” from “outperform” at Credit Suisse Group AG. The stock plunged percent.Information technology services company, iGate Corporation (NASDAQ:IGTE) said first-quarter earnings rose a bigger-than-expected 35 percent, as revenue jumped more than three-fold to $263.3 million. Excluding one-time items, per-share earnings jumped to 38 cents from 23 cents a year earlier. Analysts were expecting an adjusted profit of 32 cents a share.Joe’s Jeans Inc. (NASDAQ:JOEZ) surged 10.5 percent in today’s trading after the maker of denim clothing said retail same-store sales rose 22 percent in the first quarter.RF Monolithics, Inc. (NASDAQ:RFMI), which makes wireless connectivity products, has agreed to be acquired by Murata Electronics North America in a deal valued at roughly $23 million, or $1.78 a share.
Hedge Fund News UpdateJay Luo, SAC Capital Advisors’ Asia head, is leaving Steven A. Cohen’s $14 billion hedge fund firm after 10 years of association.Currency-focused hedge funds lost 2.23 percent in March from the previous month, their worst performance in seven months, according to the Parker Global Strategies Currency Managers Index.Zurich based global macro hedge fund, Rialto Capital, has appointed Giacomo Berta, ex Standard CharteredCommodities Trader, as Portfolio Manager and Head of Quantitative Research. Rialto is planning to launch a systematic fund in the second half of this year.London-based Capula Investment Management, the $13bn hedge fundlinked with financial firm Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), will open an office in Hong Kong. Antony Hung, a Bank of America Merrill Lynchveteran, will head the new office.
After Tokyo, this will be Capula’s second office in Asia, and comes more than two years after it won a US$200 million mandate from sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp.According to the GlobeOp Capital Movement Index, hedge funds saw net inflows of 0.35 percent in April, encouraged by a rebound in financial markets and better fund performance this year. According to Hedge Fund Research, funds lost 5.2 percent last year, but in the first three months of the year the average hedge fund is up 4.9 percent.The Swiss government is going to introduce some stringent regulations for its traditionally freewheeling hedge fund industry, which money managers fear will turn it into one of the most difficult counties in the world to run hedge funds in.Nevada-based mineral exploration company, New America Energy Corp (OTC:NECA) has entered into a non-brokered financing arrangement of up to $3.2 million with New York-based hedge fund Fairhills Capital Offshore Ltd.Miami-based Traders Alliance, will launch an in-house fund of hedge funds.