May 8th, 2012

Managed futures funds take advantage of trends in various options, futures, and currency markets to weather choppy markets, writes Dave Kavanagh. He also explains how his managed futures fund-of-funds can also capitalize on both sides of the market, by going long as well as short.

Listen to the complete interview here.

Kate Stalter: Today, I am pleased to be speaking with Dave Kavanagh of the Grant Park Fund (GPFAX).

Dave, we spoke back in January, when the first-quarter rally in the equity markets was just beginning to get under way. We’re four months into the year right now. How would you characterize the place of managed futures in a portfolio at this juncture?

Dave Kavanagh: Well, if investors have been patient, they’ll stick with the allocation to managed futures. I think it’s done what it’s supposed to have done in, the sense that when we look at a program, one of the things that we try to insist on, or at least try to capture, in times of economic stress—especially in the equity markets—is that we offer protection.

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May 8th, 2012

S&P 500 Futures – U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its lowest level on a closing basis in almost a month, as the struggle by Greece’s leaders to form a government underscored concern about the region’s debt crisis.

McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), the world’s largest restaurant chain, retreated 1.2 percent after April sales trailed analysts’ projections. Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), the second-largest U.S. video-game publisher, declined 5.2 percent after its forecasts fell short of estimates. Fossil Inc. (FOSL), owner of the namesake watch brand, plunged 29 percent after the company reduced its full-year earnings forecast amid weakness in Europe.

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April 27th, 2012

Cattle Futures – U.S. beef packer profits are back in the black for the first time in seven months as the onset of spring has boosted demand for steaks and hamburgers that will headline backyard cookouts.

This annual surge in beef sales, and subsequent profits, could not come soon enough for the U.S. beef industry, which has been hurt by drought, an uproar over ammonia-treated beef, and another case of mad cow disease.

On Thursday, U.S. beef packers earned an estimated $3.45 per head of cattle, according to the Colorado-based analytics firm HedgersEdge, which uses proprietary data to calculate the margins.

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April 26th, 2012

Commodity Brokers – The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the main U.S. derivatives regulator, is reviewing the release of information about the first domestic case of mad cow disease in six years.

Cattle futures slumped in advance of a U.S. Department of Agriculture April 24 announcement that a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, had been confirmed in a dairy cow in California.

“CFTC reached out to USDA with questions on the BSE announcement timeline for their routine market analysis,” Courtney Rowe, USDA spokeswoman, said in an e-mail yesterday.

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April 26th, 2012

S&P 500 Futures – U.S. stocks gained, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its biggest three-day advance since February, after better-than-estimated housing data overshadowed disappointing earnings at United Parcel Service Inc.

A measure of homebuilders in S&P indexes rose 4.8 percent as PulteGroup Inc. rallied 10 percent amid a narrower loss. Chevron Corp. (CVX) advanced 2.3 percent as the energy company lifted its dividend. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), the largest Internet retailer, surged 12 percent at 4:57 p.m. New York time as revenue beat estimates. UPS (UPS), the biggest package-delivery company that is considered a proxy for the economy, retreated 1.8 percent.

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April 13th, 2012

S&P 500 Futures – U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index toward the worst weekly decline in 2012, as consumer confidence dropped, China’s growth slowed and the cost of insuring against a Spanish default rose to a record.

Financial shares dropped the most among 10 groups in the S&P 500 (SPX), following a slump in European lenders. The KBW Bank Index tumbled 2.3 percent as all of its 24 stocks fell. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) Co. and General Electric Co. (GE) lost at least 1.6 percent. Google Inc. (GOOG) slid 3.1 percent as the world’s largest Internet-search company plans a new stock structure that gives management more leeway in issuing shares.

The S&P 500 decreased 0.8 percent to 1,376.88 at 11:43 a.m. New York time. The gauge has fallen 1.5 percent this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 69.29 points, or 0.5 percent, to 12,917.29. Trading volume for S&P 500 companies was 7.3 percent above the 30-day average at this time of day.

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April 2nd, 2012

S&P 500 – The best first-quarter gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since 1998 sent U.S. stocks above gold by the most in more than a decade, a sign of growing investor confidence in corporate profits as analysts raise earnings estimates for the first time this year.

The S&P 500 climbed 12 percent, 5.3 percentage points more than gold for the widest gap to start a year since 1999, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The S&P GSCI Total Return Index (SPGSCITR) of 24 commodities gained 5.9 percent over the three months, while Treasuries slipped 1.3 percent, trailing equities by the most since 2009. Corporate bonds increased 2.4 percent and the dollar fell 1.6 percent.

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March 30th, 2012

Commodity Investing – The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities gained 0.9 percent to 690.1501 by 4:49 p.m. in London, and earlier gained the most since March 23. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials was up 1.2 percent to 1603.961. In the GSCI, corn and wheat were up the most, at 5.9 percent and 5.3 percent, and feed cattle was down the most, at 0.8 percent.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Corn and wheat prices surged, and soybeans jumped the most since mid-January, after a government report signaled tighter U.S. crop supplies than analysts expected.

U.S. farmers will plant 73.9 million acres with soybeans this year, down 1.4 percent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report today. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast 75.43 million acres. In a separate report, the USDA said corn inventories on March 1 fell 7.9 percent from a year earlier and were the lowest for that time of year since 2004, while wheat supplies fell 16 percent.

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March 30th, 2012

S&P 500 Futures – U.S. stocks rose, extending the biggest first-quarter advance since 1998 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as stronger-than-forecast growth in consumer sentiment and spending bolstered optimism in the economy.

The S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent to 1,407.76 at 11:17 a.m. New York time. The gauge has rallied 12 percent since the end of 2011, gaining for a second straight quarter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 50.36 points, or 0.4 percent, to 13,196.18 today. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.1 percent to 3,097.45 as a 19 percent rally since Dec. 30 put the gauge on pace for the best first-quarter since 1991. (CCMP)

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