9:15 AM New York – U.S. stocks edged slightly higher as global markets traded sideways after a 3-week rally. Hedge fund SAC Capital was in focus as regulators are said to seek the closure of the fund. Fed Chairman Bernanke is set to testify before lawmakers tomorrow.
U.S. stocks edged slightly higher and lawmakers stepped up efforts to probe tax avoidance strategies at multinationals using Ireland as the gateway for most of the profits.
SAC Capital is reported to be in talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission that may lead to closure of the $15 billion fund controlled by its founder Steven A. Cohen.
Fund manager Cohen may explore turning the hedge fund to a family office with the $9 billon of his own money.
According to two separate reports published by Bloomberg News and Reuters the fund is still exploring ways to keep external assets under management and work out a settlement with the SEC, however deal with the regulator is increasingly unlikely.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is scheduled to testify before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress tomorrow on the outlook for the U.S. economy.
The Federal Open Market Committee is also set to release its minutes of meeting ending on May 1.
European market diverged after the FTSE 100 index in London increased 0.1% and market indexes in Paris and Frankfurt declined 0.15%.
Market indexes in Greece dropped 4% after National Bank of Greece plunged 24% after it announced stock sale plan that will dilute current shareholders.
Marks & Spencer increased to a 5-year high after the retailer said it plans to cut capital spending to boost profit margins.
Sonova Holding AG declined 1.5% after the Switzerland based world’s largest hearing aide maker lowered profit growth outlook.
Markets in Asia closed higher with retail investors stepping up in Tokyo to extend the recent market rally. The benchmark Nikkei has advanced 9% in the last one week and has soared 48% in the year so far in addition to 23% rise in 2012.
Hang Seng index in Hong Kong declined 0.6% and Sensex index in Mumbai increased a fraction.
U.S. Stock Movers
Best Buy Co declined 4% after the largest consumer electronics retailer reported a gross margin of 23.1%, lower than 24.5% expected by several analysts.
Carnival Corp plummeted 9% after the largest cruise operator lowered its full-year net income outlook to between $1.45 and $1.65 a share from its previously estimated range of $1.80 to $2.10 a share.
Home Depot gained 4% after the largest home improvement retailer reported better-than-expected quarter earnings per share of 83 cents or $1.2 billion from $1 billion or 68 cents a share in the year ago period.
The retailer also said sales increased 7.4% to $19.12 billion same store sales at U.S. locations increased 4.8%. The company also lifted its annual sales increase outlook to 2.8% and earnings per share of $3.52 from $3.37.