Eagle Eye Opener: World Markets End Week Mixed; SEC Looks into Suspicious Trading Before Heinz Acquisition Announcement; Rival Raiders Set Up Herbalife Battle

Eagle Eye Opener

World Markets Ending the Week Mixed (Bloomberg)

International markets and U.S futures indexes are ending the week mixed after President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. Far Eastern markets will close out the week up for the most part, aside from Japan’s Nikkei 225, which ended the day down 1.18 percent. In Europe, the news about Germany’s economic backslide seems to have already been accounted for as England’s FTSE and France’s CAC rose .04 and .08 percent, respectively, before the end of trading today. Germany’s DAX so far is down slightly at .12 percent. Finally in the U.S. future’s market, the Dow looks to open .07 percent down; conversely, both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are set to open slightly ahead.  Let’s hope there’s more of an upward trend next week.

SEC Red-faced about Yesterday’s Ketchup Play (YahooFinance)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began looking into suspicious trading ahead of yesterday’s $23 billion Heinz acquisition deal. Of special interest to SEC investigators is that in the days leading up to the deal’s announcement, there had been hardly any call options trading at all. But that changed immediately before Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital announced they had combined forces to acquire the Pennsylvania-based condiment king for $72.50 a share — approximately $12 more than the previous day’s closing price. Before investors start guessing who’s at fault, it’s interesting to note that 3G had similar allegations made against it last year, as well.

Rival Raiders Set Up Herbalife Battle (Reuters)

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Noted corporate raider Carl Icahn revealed that he owns approximately 13 percent (14 million shares) of troubled vitamin company Herbalife, Ltd. This ownership puts Icahn squarely in the opposite corner of William Ackerman — a rival guerilla investor — who proclaimed for the world to hear that Herbalife shares would go to zero. But this conflict is nothing new as the two multi-millionaires had a physical altercation on cable television when Icahn called Ackerman a “major loser.” Shares of Herbalife jumped 20 percent on the Icahn news, advancing above $46 in after hours trading. Whichever way Herbalife shares eventually go, investors are in for quite a show…

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Countering investor concern over the shrinking Japanese and European economies, Warren Buffet's deal for Heinz, as well as a reduction in jobless claims, led to a day of little change in the stock market.

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