May 1st, 2012

Wheat Futures – The fastest-ever development of the Kansas wheat crop is drawing a record number of surveyors seeking to gauge prospects for a harvest that is poised to swell the world’s grain bins and drive prices lower.

Kansas, the top U.S. grower of winter wheat, will collect 45.8 bushels an acre when the harvest starts in May, the most since 2003 and up from 35 bushels in 2011, based on the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 10 analysts, some of which are among the record 100 participants expected in this year’s crop tour. As of yesterday, grain had developed in 74 percent of the crop, the most for that date since at least 1981 and up from a five-year average of 7 percent, government data show.

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May 2nd, 2012

Managed Futures  – Investors are significantly more interested in diversifying portfolios with products that yield dividends while insulating against volatility, such as Direct Investments, today than in 2011.

–One in four respondents are unfamiliar with Direct Investments, stressing the need for advisors to properly educate clients about their diversification and income-generation capabilities.

–Direct investing in hard assets — like Non-Listed Real Estate Investment Trusts (NL REITs), Oil and Gas and Equipment Leasing Programs, Private Equities and Managed Futures– is a viable way to diversify an investment portfolio.

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May 2nd, 2012

Crude oil slid from the highest level in five weeks as increasing crude stockpiles in the U.S. and declining industrial output in Europe fanned concern that global demand may weaken.

Crude oil futures in New York dropped as much as 0.6 percent. U.S. crude inventories rose 2.04 million barrels last week, the fifth gain in six weeks, the American Petroleum Institute said yesterday. Euro-area manufacturing shrank for a ninth month in April, while France, Italy and Greece plan elections this weekend. Prices advanced 1.2 percent yesterday after an index of U.S. manufacturing increased at the fastest pace in 10 months.

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May 1st, 2012

Dow Jones Futures – U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to the highest level since December 2007, after a better-than-estimated manufacturing report bolstered investors’ optimism in the world’s largest economy.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Intel Corp. (INTC) and Alcoa Inc. climbed at least 1.8 percent to pace rallies among the biggest companies. The Dow Jones Transportation Average, a proxy for economic growth, increased 1.1 percent. Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) soared 15 percent as it forecast a profit after selling some stores in the U.S. and Canada. Stocks pared gains after Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable company, reversed an earlier advance.

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May 1st, 2012

Managed Futures: Hatteras Funds, a $2.2bn US-based alternative investment manager, will launch a managed futures-focusedalternative strategies offering in the fourth quarter, HFMWeek has learned.

The portfolio, called the Hatteras Managed Futures Strategies Fund, will appoint managed account structures as sub-advisers, which employ a diverse range of strategies in the space.

“We believe for most investors, a multi-manager approach in the managed futures area is the best structure for most advisers because individually the strategies can be volatile,” said Robert Worthington, president of the New York- and Raleigh, North Carolina-based firm. “By incorporating four, five or six managers, you can provide diversification by investing in a number of sub-strategies.”

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May 1st, 2012

Gold futures fell for a second straight day as signs of stronger U.S. industrial growth boosted prospects for the economy and eroded the appeal of the precious metal as a haven.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of equities rose as much as 1.2 percent after the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index rose to 54.8 in April from 53.4 in March. Economists had forecast a reading of 53, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The precious metal has gained 6.1 percent this year as Europe’s intensifying debt crisis threatened global growth.

“The ISM numbers gave investors a good reason to jump back into equities,” Adam Klopfenstein, a market strategist at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “People are favoring equities over gold.”

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April 30th, 2012

Natural gas futures surged higher Monday, adding to a week-long rally on hopes that prices near decade lows have prodded U.S. gas producers to curtail ouput.

Natural gas futures for June delivery rose 9.9 cents, or 4.5%, to $2.285 a million British thermal unit on the New York Mercantile Exchange after a government report showed February U.S gas production posted the largest drop in a year.

The output decline, which comes after January production hit a record high, offered some ammunition to bullish gas investors that believe prices may have hit a bottom in mid-April when futures settled at $1.907/MMBtu.

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May 1st, 2012

Canada’s dollar futures fluctuated against its U.S. counterpart after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates more than economists had predicted, casting doubt on the timing of rate increases by the Bank of Canada.

The Canadian currency rose last month, touching a seven- month high, after policy makers suggested borrowing costs would rise amid stronger inflation and economic growth. It fell yesterday after a government report showed the nation’s gross domestic product unexpectedly shrank in February.

“The combination of weaker GDP and a more aggressive RBA than people had thought has damped expectations for Canadian interest-rate increases,” said Camilla Sutton, head of currency strategy at Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) in Toronto, in a telephone interview. “That’s keeping the Canadian dollar unchanged.”

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May 1st, 2012

Commodity Investing: The heaviest and most numerous U.S. pig population on record and rebounding Chinese output are creating a surplus that is poised to halt a four-year rally in prices.

U.S. farmers will raise 117.1 million pigs this year, the most in at least a half century, as world pork output gains 2.7 percent to an all-time high of 104.4 million metric tons, U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates show. China may produce 690 million hogs, the most since at least 1976. Prices may drop 10 percent to 77.75 cents a pound in Chicago by Dec. 31, according to the median of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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April 30th, 2012

S&P 500 Futures – The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) declined, halting a four-month advance, after a report showed that business activity expanded at the slowest pace since November 2009 and Spain’s economy entered into a recession.

Bank of America Corp., Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and Monsanto Co. (MON) retreated at least 1.7 percent. Humana Inc. (HUM) tumbled 8.1 percent as profit at the provider of U.S.-backed Medicare insurance missed analysts’ projections. NYSE Euronext (NYX) slumped 4.9 percent amid a 44 percent decline in earnings. Barnes & Noble Inc. soared a record 52 percent after Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said it plans to invest $300 million in a venture with the bookstore chain.

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