- U.S. Small-Cap Rally Sends Valuation 26% Above 1990s (BBG)
- Russian troops seize Ukraine marine base in Crimea (Reuters)
- Apple in Talks With Comcast About Streaming-TV Service (WSJ)
- Top J.P. Morgan Executive in China to Leave Bank (WSJ)
- Treasury's Lew to undergo treatment for enlarged prostate (Reuters)
- Billionaire Sought by U.S. Holds Key to Putin Gas Cash (BBG)
- Israel closes embassies around the world as diplomats strike (Reuters)
- Herbalife to Nominate Three More Icahn Candidates to Board (BBG)
- Australian ship homes in on possible debris from Malaysia plane (Reuters)
- California DMV Investigating Potential Credit Card Breach (WSJ)
- U.S. regulators failed to spot deadly GM defects that others saw (Reuters)
- Egyptian court sentences 529 Brotherhood members to death (Reuters)
- World Leaders Discuss Ukraine as Worry Grows Over Russia (BBG)
- Drug Firms Focus on Advanced Melanoma (WSJ)
Overnight Media Digest
* Apple Inc is in talks with Comcast Corp about a streaming-television service that would use an Apple set-top box and try to bypass congestion on the web, people familiar with the matter said. (http://link.reuters.com/reb87v)
* One of JP Morgan Chase & Co's top China executives is expected to resign amid a continuing probe of the U.S. bank's Asian hiring practices, according to people familiar with the situation. (http://link.reuters.com/wyb87v)
* U.S. hedge fund RD Legal Capital LLC plans to bet as much as $100 million that it can collect on a court judgment against Iran for a deadly terror attack in Beirut three decades ago, according to marketing documents and people familiar with the matter. (http://link.reuters.com/vub87v)
* IMS Health Holdings Inc is in the final stages of preparing to launch an initial public stock offering that could value the prescription-data provider at $7 billion, people familiar with the matter said. IMS, owned by private-equity firms TPG, Leonard Green & Partners LP and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, will soon start a road show to pitch investors on its shares, which are expected to begin trading within the next two weeks. (http://link.reuters.com/tyb87v)
* Major pharmaceutical companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, Roche Holding AG and Merck & Co are racing to launch breakthrough drugs in the next 18 months to treat advanced melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. All three companies are working on a potential blockbuster "immunotherapy" drug that would use the body's immune system to fight the cancer. (http://link.reuters.com/fac87v)
* California's Department of Motor Vehicles is investigating a potential breach of its credit card-processing systems, in what might be the latest in a string of attacks that have highlighted vulnerabilities in how payment data are handled. (http://link.reuters.com/nac87v)
* Cisco Systems Inc plans to begin offering "cloud" computing service to corporate customers, pledging to spend $1 billion over the next two years to enter a market now led by Amazon.com Inc. (http://link.reuters.com/qac87v)
The chief of General Electric's European business said the industrial conglomerate wanted Britain to stay in the European Union and Scotland to remain part of Britain.
Geely-owned Volvo Car Group said it would double its marketing budget in the United States, looking to revive its faltering business there and keep a turnround at the Gothenburg-based carmaker on track.
As Gatwick prepares its case for expansion, it will argue this week that Britain will have less need for a big hub airport such as Heathrow because of the way the aviation industry is evolving.
A group of banks including Goldman Sachs and Nomura have agreed to lend nearly 1 billion euros ($1.38 billion) to private equity-backed Ceva Sante Animale, a veterinary drug producer.
FTSE 100 Tullow Oil will become the first oil company to disclose its payments to foreign governments with a level of detail demanded by anti-corruption campaigners.
* Data storage company Actifio is to announce it has raised $100 million in new financing, valuing the company at $1 billion. That deal places Actifio in an elite club of start-ups with 10-figure valuations. (http://r.reuters.com/mec87v)
* Birchbox, an online retailer of cosmetic and beauty products, has decided to open a physical retail store by late May. Founded by two Harvard classmates, the company joins a list of e-tailers who have decided to have a physical retail store apart from an online presence. (http://r.reuters.com/cac87v)
* Tribeca Enterprises, a Manhattan-based independent film concern co-founded by actor Robert De Niro, has agreed to sell 50 percent stake to Madison Square Garden Co. The deal, announced on March 22, values Tribeca at $45 million. (http://r.reuters.com/mac87v)
* General Motors Co has turned to social media to earn its reputation back and manage its customers well in the wake of a recent recall storm involving 1.6 million cars. The once-bankrupt automaker's dual approach - going about its normal business while trying to help specific customers - reflects the tightrope the company must walk. (http://r.reuters.com/vyb87v)
* With an eye to achieve top TV ratings, attracting marquee advertisers and lots of social media buzz, kids' TV channels are increasingly leaning towards award shows. (http://r.reuters.com/bec87v)
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
* The Parti Quebecois is trying to bolster a faltering campaign with a new wedge issue on Quebec identity, accusing Ontarians and other Canadians from outside Quebec of trying to steal the provincial election. (http://link.reuters.com/rad87v)
* Leaders of Canadian companies operating in Russia are fearful that Western sanctions and Ottawa's overtly pro-Ukrainian position over Crimea will lead to a worsening business environment for them in Russia. (http://link.reuters.com/tad87v)
Reports in the business section:
* BlackBerry Ltd Chief Executive John Chen has so far received relatively kind treatment from his company's long-suffering investors. There's growing evidence that investors have been willing to cut the company a little more slack these days, as it continues trying to pull off a difficult transition from a smartphone giant to a software and services provider. (http://link.reuters.com/vad87v)
* An Ontario judge's decision to hand Iran's $7 million worth of state assets in Canada to victims of terrorism was branded "politically motivated" and of "no legal value" by the Islamic republic on the weekend. (http://link.reuters.com/bed87v)
* Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia on Ukraine and Crimea more sharply than any other leader of a major western country. (http://link.reuters.com/sed87v)
* Teen movie franchises are proving to be a very lucrative investment for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, which appears to have yet another multi-part epic hit on its hands. The studio, which was founded in Vancouver by mining magnate Frank Giustra, won the North American box office over the weekend with "Divergent," a film about a dystopian future where people are divided into factions based on human virtues. (http://link.reuters.com/qyd87v)
SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS
- China will be able to achieve its goal for its economy to grow 7.5 percent this year, Jia Kang, head of the Ministry of Finance's research, told an asset management forum in Beijing over the weekend.
- China's decision to let listed firms to issue preferred shares for the first time will enable banks to raise funds without dilution of their earnings, making banking shares more attractive to investors, a signed article by the newspaper said.
- The slowdown of the annual growth of China's economy to below 8 percent over the past two years, down from more than 10 percent in most years since the start of this century, signals that the country needs to step up its efforts to improve its economic structure to sustain its rapid growth, a commentary by the newspaper said.
CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL
- The depreciation of the yuan against the dollar since the start of this year is mainly a correction after the Chinese currency staged an unexpected strong appreciation last year. Now another round of yuan rise may have to wait until the fourth quarter of this year, judging from factors including China's slowing economy, a research report by Huarong Securities said.
- China's central government should be the main investment force for the country's next round of urbanisation drive, said Wang Jian, an official at the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner.
- The China Securities Regulatory Commission will soon resume reviewing corporate applications for initial public offerings after an IPO lull since February as applicants are required to add their latest financial data for last year among their documents for applications.
CHINA BUSINESS NEWS
- A number of Chinese government departments are now coordinating to draft rules to manage and supervise China's rapidly growing online banking business, sources said.
- China and Netherlands pledged to seek closer cooperation during the ongoing visit to Europe by Chinese president Xi Jinping.
SAINSBURY'S WINS SECOND BITE AT TESCO 'PRICE PROMISE'
J Sainsbury's has won the right to a judicial review in its legal battle against Tesco's "misleading" Price Promise campaign after failing to convince regulators that it should be banned. (http://link.reuters.com/gub87v)
MENTAL HEALTH-CARE GROUP CAMBIAN PLANS 500 MLN STG IPO
Cambian, Britain's biggest mental health services provider, is joining the flotation flurry after unveiling plans to list half of the business on the London Stock Exchange. (http://link.reuters.com/fub87v)
SUNRISE RADIO TAKEOVER BEING LED BY TORY DONOR FACING 14 MLN STG FRAUD TRIAL
The takeover of London's biggest commercial Asian radio stations is being led by a former business associate of Conservative grandee Cecil Parkinson who is awaiting trial for fraud at the Old Bailey. (http://link.reuters.com/neb87v)
'SCOTS TO PAY PREMIUM FOR KILT-EDGED BORROWING'
BlackRock, the world's largest fund manager, has warned that an independent Scotland would have to pay more to borrow when issuing "kilt-edged securities", because of the country's reliance on volatile oil revenues and an oversized banking sector. (http://link.reuters.com/bub87v)
ASDA MANAGERS FACE AXE AS GROCERS' PRICE WAR ESCALATES
Asda is preparing to announce what are said to be "scores" of redundancies among senior managers in its central and head office functions. The grocer is expected to brief senior managers on Monday on who will be let go. (http://link.reuters.com/seb87v)
PHOENIX IS PRESSING IGNITION ON SALE PLAN
Phoenix Group has entered exclusive talks with Standard Life over a potential 400 million pound ($659.8 million) sale of its Ignis Asset Management division. (http://link.reuters.com/veb87v)
RSA PREPARES FOR EASTER FUNDRAISING
RSA will this week pull the trigger on its emergency cash call to shareholders as Britain's biggest commercial insurer sets out the terms of its bumper 775 million pound rights issue. (http://link.reuters.com/web87v)
INTEROUTE TO RAISE 200 MLN EUROS AS IT TARGETS CLOUD CONTROL
London-based telecommunications company Interoute intends to raise up to 200 million euros ($275.7 million) to fund expansion as it plots a listing within the next two years. (http://link.reuters.com/xeb87v)
THAMES WATER SEEKS INTERNATIONAL BACKERS FOR LONDON'S SUPER-SEWER
Thames Water has started the hunt for international investors to fund the construction of its controversial 4 billion pound super-sewer across London. (http://link.reuters.com/geb87v)
RECORD NUMBER OF WOMEN TAKE SEATS IN THE BOARDROOM
The equality campaigner Lord Davies will this week step up the pressure on companies to put more women into executive committee roles, as he reveals that females hold a record number of seats in the boardrooms of Britain's biggest companies - but men still dominate the top jobs. (http://link.reuters.com/feb87v)
BIG LEAP IN BRITISH FOOD EXPORTS TO CHINA
A taste for Scottish salmon and British pork by China's emerging middle classes drove UK food and drink exports 5 percent higher last year to 12.8 billion pounds, the Food & Drink Federation said. (http://link.reuters.com/heb87v)
Fly On The Wall 7:00 Am Market Snapshot
Domestic economic reports scheduled today include:
Chicago Fed national activity index for February at 8:30--consensus 0.1
Markit U.S. manufacturing PMI for March at 9:45--consensus 56.5
Axiall (AXLL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Banco Bradesco (BBD) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
First Bancorp (fbnc) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
STAAR Surgical (STAA) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair
Stratasys (SSYS) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Symantec (SYMC) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
U.S. Bancorp (USB) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at Atlantic Equities
United Continental (UAL) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
VMware (VMW) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee
Wells Fargo (WFC) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at Atlantic Equities
Yanzhou Coal (YZC) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse
Yanzhou Coal (YZC) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
American Electric (AEP) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
BBCN Bank (BBCN) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Bank of America (BAC) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Atlantic Equities
Exelis (XLS) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Gartner (IT) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
KPN (KKPNY) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Loews (L) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Manitowoc (MTW) downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies
NetApp (NTAP) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Susser Holdings (SUSS) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
Zions Bancorp (ZION) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Abiomed (ABMD) initiated with an Outperform at Leerink
CECO Environmental (CECE) initiated with a Hold at Jefferies
Clovis (CLVS) initiated with a Neutral at Goldman
Descartes Systems (DSGX) initiated with an Outperform at Raymond James
NCI Building Systems (NCS) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
National General (NGHC) initiated with an Outperform at FBR Capital
Herbalife (HLF) to nominate three additional Icahn designees to board
Nokia (NOK) now expects deal with Microsoft (MSFT) to close in April
Credit Suisse (CS) in $885M settlement with FHFA
Twitter (TWTR) said hopes to have access in Turkey returned 'soon'
Nu Skin China (NUS) penalized $524K for direct sales of certain products
Ctrip.com (CTRP) said 93 users' credit card information may have been hacked
AT&T (T) responded to Netflix's (NFLX) Hastings, said 'there is no free lunch'
Madison Square Garden (MSG) purchased 50% interest in Tribeca Enterprises
Sinopec (SNP) reports FY13 net profit RMB66.1B vs. RMB63.9B in FY12
Republic First Bancorp (FRBK) reports Q4 EPS (13c), two estimates 2c
Hackett Group (HCKT) reaffirms Q1 EPS, revenue guidance
Dataram (DRAM) reports Q3 EPS (40c) vs. (44c) a year ago
Arrhythmia Research (HRT) reports Q4 EPS (3c) vs. (44c) a year ago
Cisco (CSCO) plans to offer cloud computing services, WSJ reports
Apple (AAPL), Comcast (CMCSA) in talks about streaming-TV service, WSJ says
Nasdaq (NDAQ) re-evaluating FinQloud partnership with Amazon (AMZN), FT reports
JPMorgan (JPM) executive in China expected to resign amid probe, WSJ says
Bristol-Myers (BMY), Roche (RHHBY), Merck (MRK) working on possible blockbusters for melanoma, WSJ says
Artist Series makes $350M cash offer for MSG's (MSG) Fuse TV, Bloomberg says
U.S. considers bankruptcy link in GM (GM) ignition defect probe, NYT says
Apple (AAPL) to move towards automoated production for iPhone batteries, DigiTimes says
Oceanografia CEO questioned in Citigroup (C) fraud case, Reuters says
A sale of stake in Alibaba after its IPO could net Yahoo (YHOO) billions, Barron's says
Principal Financial (PFG) should be worth 25% more, Barron's says
McDermott (MDR) shares could rise over 20% in a year, Barron's says
CommonWealth REIT (CWH) could eventually trade higher, Barron's says
A bigger iPhone screen could boost Apple's (AAPL) earnings 10%-15%, Barron's says
Visteon (VC) shares could reach $100 in a year, Barron's says
Cardica (CRDC) files to sell 32.15M shares of common stock
Galectin Therapeutics (GALT) files to sell $100M of common stock
Rand Logistics (RLOG) files to sell $8.2M of common stock
SeaWorld (SEAS) files to sell 15M shares of common stock for holders