Market Wrap: SAC Eases Withdrawals; Icahn Looks for Blood; Pressure Continues in Euro-Zone

February 14, 2013 5:30 PM EST
Market wrap-up for February 14th

End of the Day: S&P 500 up 1.1 to 1,521.38; Dow Jones down 9.5 to 13,973.39; Nasdaq up 1.8 to 3,198.66

The following is a brief summary of events moving markets today:

* Big news of the day was H.J. Heinz Co. (NYSE: HNZ) entering a deal to be acquired by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) and 3G Capital for $72.50 per share in cash or $28 billion. The announcement helped Berkshire Class A shares close at an all time high of $149,240 per share. For more on the merger, click here.

* The U.S. Department of Labor said those filing for initial jobless claims slipped 27,000 to 341,000 for the week ended February 9th. The Street was looking for a more modest drop to 365,000 applications. Those on continuing claims fell from a revised-higher 3.244 million down to 3.114 million.

* Steven Cohen's SAC Capital is allowing investors a little more time to decide on whether they'd like to withdraw funds or not. The new option allows for investors to keep funds with the firm this quarter, while still being able to withdraw all by the end of the year. Typically, SAC limits quarterly withdraws to 25 percent per quarter. Does the move show that SAC is confident? We think so.

* Fourth-quarter GDP in the euro-zone fell by the most since 2009. Data out of the 17 member union showed a 2.3 percent drop in GDP for the quarter. Despite being the strongest nation in the union, even Germany could no longer stave off consolidation, with GDP mirroring the broader drop.

* Hedge funds are literally moving markets today. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) was a highly-debated stock on the session, with many hedge funds cutting stakes the last few days while David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital boosted its position by 20 percent to 1,307,066 shares. For more quarterly filings and hedge fund news, go to Hedge Fund Insider.

* General Motors (NYSE: GM) reported Q4 EPS of 48 cents and revs of $39.3 billion, versus consensus EPS of 51 cents and revs of $39.1 billion. Results were largely hit by weaker-than-expected operating income in GM's North American market.

* In late trading Thursday, activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed a 14,015,151 stake in Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) which has been a hotly-contested stock in the hedge fund world over the last few months. According to the 13D, Icahn ("Reporting Persons") "have conducted significant analysis with respect to the Issuer. The Reporting Persons have concluded that the Company has a legitimate business model, with favorable long-term opportunities for growth. The Reporting Persons intend to have discussions with management of the Issuer regarding the business and strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, such as a recapitalization or a going-private transaction."

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Carl Icahn, SAC Capital, Warren Buffett, Initial Jobless Claims, Steven A. Cohen, Greenlight Capital, David Einhorn, Standard & Poor's, Hedge Funds, 13D

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