Daily Data Flow: Four Private Equity Giants Accused of Collusion; Investors Pull $10 Billion from Stock Mutual Funds in One Week; S&P 500 Averts Fifth Straight Day of Losses

Daily Data Flow

Blackstone, KKR, Bain Accused of Agreeing Not to Compete (Bloomberg)
Top executives at buyout firms including Blackstone Group LP, KKR & Co., Bain Capital Partners LLC and Carlyle Group LP assured each other in e-mails that they would not compete on deals to avoid driving up prices and angering competitors, according to a now public court complaint. The disclosures are a setback for the industry’s efforts to clean up its image, which has come under scrutiny as Bain Capital co-founder Mitt Romney seeks to become the next U.S. president. The correspondence was cited as evidence that the firms rigged bids in 19 leveraged buyouts and eight other transactions, including the biggest deals of the leveraged buyout boom, according to the amended complaint unsealed yesterday by a federal judge in Boston.

Investors ‘wait and flee’: $10 billion Yanked from Stocks (CNNMoney)
Investors have been bailing out of the stock market all year, but the exodus picked up considerable speed last week. U.S. stock mutual funds bled nearly $10.6 billion during the week ended Oct. 3. That exodus brings the total 2012 outflow from U.S. mutual funds to more than $100 billion. While retreating from the stock market, investors continued to embrace the safety of bonds, which showed the highest demand in almost three years. Bond funds raked in $10.9 billion during last week, up from an average of about $6 billion a week this year, and the most since the week ended October 21, 2009. So far this year, bond funds have attracted more than $270 billion.

S&P Struggles to Avoid Five-Day Loss; Energy Gains (CNBC)
Stocks traded mixed near session lows Thursday as the earlier bounce from a better-than-expected jobless claims report fizzled. Among the key S&P sectors, energy and banks gained, while telecoms and consumer discretionary lagged. On the economic front, weekly jobless claims tumbled 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, hitting the lowest level since February 2008, according to the Labor Department. “The combination of even easier central bank policy and cheap valuation should ensure global markets rally a further 9% to the end of 2013,” Citi wrote in its research note.

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