- Ukraine Accord Nears Collapse as Biden Meets Kiev Leaders (BBG)
- Novartis reshapes business via deals with GSK and Lilly (Reuters)
- Moscow Bankers See Fees Slide 67% as Ukraine Crisis Grows (BBG)
- Why ECB's QE will be Ukraine's fault: Draghi Gauges Ukraine Effect as ECB Tackles Low Inflation (BBG)
- As Phone Subsidies Fade, Apple Could Be Hurt (WSJ)
- Amazon Sales Take a Hit in States With Online Tax (BBG)
- Ford Speeds Up Succession Plan: Mark Fields, Auto Maker's No. 2, Seen Replacing Alan Mulally as CEO Ahead of Schedule (WSJ)
- U.S. force in Afghanistan may be cut to less than 10,000 troops (Reuters)
- IBM End to Buyback Splurge Pressures CEO to Boost Revenue (BBG)
- Netflix Calls Out AT&T for Subpar Streaming Performance (BBG)
- GPIF Shakes Up Committee With Three Abe Panel Members (BBG)
- First sign of South Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy (Reuters)
Overnight Media Digest
* Activist investor William Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc are seeking to acquire Allergan Inc, according to a filing on Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The deal, if successful, would create a behemoth in the global eye-care and skin-care drug industries. Each company has a stock-market capitalization of more than $40 billion. (http://r.reuters.com/was68v)
* Ford Motor Co Chief Executive Alan Mulally will leave the company earlier than expected after a more than seven-year run in which he oversaw a significant expansion of the U.S. automaker, people familiar with the matter said. Mulally's successor will be Mark Fields, a Ford veteran who survived management turmoil in the years before Mulally's 2006 arrival. (http://r.reuters.com/vas68v)
* Facebook Inc is planning a mobile-ad network that will allow the company to tap its vast reservoir of data about users to help marketers target ads on other services. The network, which has been in the works for years, is set to be announced at Facebook's F8 conference at the end of the month.(http://r.reuters.com/tas68v)
* A Texas group sued the Federal Aviation Administration in federal court to challenge the agency's order to stop using drones in the group's searches for missing people, the latest round in an intensifying battle over regulation of the sector. (http://r.reuters.com/xas68v)
* For years, equities had taken a back seat to the bigger and often more-profitable business of buying and selling fixed-income securities and commodities. But as those units are squeezed by new regulation and uncooperative markets, banks are putting more muscle behind catering to the trading needs of equity investors. (http://r.reuters.com/zas68v)
* Tuesday Morning Corp and its former chief executive settled a discrimination lawsuit that alleged she was fired after developing breast cancer. Kathleen Mason, the head of the home-furnishings closeout retailer, was ousted in June 2012 after a 12-year run during which the company's stock fell nearly 60 percent. (http://r.reuters.com/ces68v)
* U.S. wireless carriers are making unexpectedly fast progress moving their customers away from subsidized phones, a shift that could put further pressure on sales of expensive devices like Apple Inc's iPhone. (http://r.reuters.com/des68v)
* Netflix Inc will raise the price of its streaming service for new members by a dollar or two a month, it said on Monday. It also said that it now has more than 34 million paid subscribers in the U.S. (http://r.reuters.com/ges68v)
Fears of a conflict between pro-Kiev and secessionist forces were stoked after Russia's foreign minister vowed to put an end to the unrest in eastern Ukraine on Monday.
U.S. shares in Britain's AstraZeneca jumped on Monday after media reports revealed that Pfizer had made a tentative $100 billion takeover approach.
The Bank of England will oversee an ethical hacking programme of 20 major banks and other financial institutions in the UK to test the resilience of their computer systems.
Britain's Barclays, one of the world's biggest commodities traders, is looking to exit parts of its metals, agricultural and energy business in a move expected to be announced this week.
Microsoft said on Monday it had completed the steps necessary to finalise the purchase of Nokia's devices and services business though it made a few changes to the original terms of the 5.4 billion euro deal agreed last year.
Listed property firms in the UK are selling riskier assets and consolidating their borrowings as demand from overseas investors push property prices higher.
* Ford Motor Co has picked Mark Fields, its chief operating officer, to succeed Alan R. Mulally as the next chief executive of the company, according to a person with knowledge of the move. The selection of Fields would hasten the retirement of Mulally, who has said previously that he would stay as chief executive of Ford through the end of this year. (http://r.reuters.com/zes68v)
* Activist investor William A. Ackman, among the brashest men on Wall Street, made perhaps the boldest move yet for an activist. By teaming up with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc, a big health care company, and offering to buy Allergan Inc, the maker of Botox, for roughly $50 billion. (http://r.reuters.com/bus68v)
* Investment banks, which rushed into the new territory of physical commodities starting at the turn of the century, are now beating a retreat. The latest bank expected to make an exit is Barclays Plc, which plans to announce on Tuesday that it will get out of large parts of its commodities business, according to a person briefed on the British bank's plans. (http://r.reuters.com/fus68v)
* Netflix Inc on Monday voiced strong opposition to Comcast Corp's planned $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc, even while confirming that it was raising subscription prices. (http://r.reuters.com/gus68v)
* The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday seemed inclined to offer at least modest help to Argentina's creditors. The issue before the justices was in some ways a minor one, and they will soon decide whether to hear a second and more significant case arising from Argentina's 2001 default on billions of dollars of debt. (http://r.reuters.com/hus68v)
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
* Herb Gray, a former deputy prime minister and one of Canada's longest-serving parliamentarians, died on Monday at the age of 82. (http://r.reuters.com/gat68v)
* Air Canada has suspended two employees seen in a video dropping passengers' carry-on baggage into a bin several metres below at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. (http://r.reuters.com/jat68v)
Reports in the business section:
* Activist investor Bill Ackman is teaming up with Canada-based drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc to make a multi-billion dollar bid for California eye and skin care company Allergan Inc. (http://r.reuters.com/mat68v)
* The Canadian Prime Minister's Office coughed up C$4.1 million ($3.7 million) in severance and separation pay over the first seven years of Stephen Harper's tenure for 196 departing PMO employees, according to government documents. (http://r.reuters.com/gut68v)
* With Victoria set to ban virtually all forms of public smoking, city councillors in the British Columbia capital are mulling the creation of small patches of neutral ground in which the region's 30,000 or so smokers could "kill themselves in peace" without breaking the law. (http://r.reuters.com/kut68v)
* Retreat and cut your losses, or carry on fighting. Those are the choices facing TransCanada Corp after the United States government's non-decision to put the Keystone XL pipeline on hold, yet again, possibly until next year, perhaps indefinitely. (http://r.reuters.com/dut68v)
* Rogers Communications Inc's new Chief Executive Guy Laurence still won't go into detail on his strategy to reboot growth at the company, but he is now hinting that it will hinge on getting all of the company's telecom and media assets to work better together. (http://r.reuters.com/put68v)
CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL
- The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) has launched a research process into the regulation of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) credit channel to achieve better risk management, capital pooling is to be forbidden.
- As of the first quarter of 2014, the 1,917 funds run by 81 fund management companies have lost a sum of 65.8 billion yuan ($10.57 billion), according to data pooled by TX Investment Consulting Co. Ltd, a fund research company.
SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS
- The draft version of China's Environment Protection Law has been submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, sources said, with more regulation to fight against air pollution and breakthrough in information disclosure mechanism to be expected.
- More police armed with handguns are being deployed nationwide to conduct regular patrols on the streets amid rising concerns over public security, the Ministry of Public Security said on Monday. "The presence of armed police will enable immediate responses to emergencies and effectively combat violent crimes," said Yan Zhengbin, deputy director of the ministry's public security management bureau.
- A draft version of China's Criminal Law has been submitted to the top legislature, aiming to clearly define that eating endangered animals, or buying them for that or any other purpose, is illegal, sources said.
- China's cabinet is going to authorise 7 supervision teams to 14 local governments to facilitate supporting policies for the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises.
ASTRAZENECA BRINGS IN WALL STREET 'DEFENDERS' AMID PFIZER BID SPECULATION Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are understood to have been hired by AstraZeneca amid speculation the drug maker could receive a new approach from Pfizer.
FORMULA ONE PROFITS STUCK IN THE SLOW LANE Profits of the motor racing series controlled by private equity firm CVC fell by $137 million last year, driven by accelerating payments under a new deal with the sport's 11 teams.
LET HOUSEHOLDS SHARE 250 MLN STG ENERGY WINDFALL, BIG SIX TOLD
Britain's six big energy companies have been urged to hand back at least 245 million pounds to consumers after it emerged that they will spend less than expected on a household insulation scheme.
36 BLN STG REBUILDING SCHEMES TO BEGIN
More than 200 projects to rebuild Britain by improving the roads and rail network, broadband coverage and flood defences will begin this year, David Cameron and George Osborne will reveal on Tuesday.
SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: GORDON BROWN WARNS OF PENSIONS 'TIMEBOMB' Ex-prime minister enters increasingly tight battle over independence as 'yes' campaign gains momentum.
BARCLAYS TO SELL ITS COMMODITIES TRADING TO FOCUS ON BANKING ARM The announcement comes before bosses face a storm of protests at the bank's annual general meeting.
Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot
Domestic economic reports scheduled today include:
FHFA house price index for February at 9:00--consensus up 0.5% for the month
Existing home sales for March at 10:00--consensus down 1% to 4.56M rate
Richmond Fed manufacturing index for April at 10:00--consensus 2
AstraZeneca (AZN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
athenahealth (ATHN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at SunTrust
Barrick Gold (ABX) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
FX Energy (FXEN) upgraded to Outperform from In-Line at Imperial Capital
Facebook (FB) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Fidelity Southern (LION) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Fiesta Restaurant (FRGI) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James
First Financial (FFIN) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Macquarie
Home Depot (HD) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Intuit (INTU) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Evercore
KT Corporation (KT) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie
Lennox (LII) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at MKM Partners
Main Street (MAIN) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Modine Manufacturing (MOD) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
National Bank of Greece (NBG) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/Merrill
Netflix (NFLX) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Cantor
Netflix (NFLX) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Ruth's Hospitality (RUTH) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Sinopec (SNP) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/Merrill
Summit Midstream (SMLP) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
CommonWealth REIT (CWH) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Stifel
Del Frisco's (DFRG) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
Deutsche Bank (DB) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Fidelity & Guaranty Life (FGL) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
QEP Resources (QEP) downgraded to Equalweight from Overweight at Barclays
Wisconsin Energy (WEC) downgraded to Fair Value from Buy at CRT Capital
Zillow (Z) downgraded to Fair Value from Buy at CRT Capital
Zions Bancorp (ZION) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Evercore
2U (TWOU) initiated with a Buy at Goldman
Aerohive Networks (HIVE) initiated with a Buy at Goldman
Aerohive Networks (HIVE) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Akorn (AKRX) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Anacor (ANAC) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Buenaventura (BVN) initiated with a Neutral at Goldman
Everyday Health (EVDY) initiated with a Buy at Stifel
First Solar (FSLR) initiated with a Buy at Brean Capital
Franco-Nevada (FNV) initiated with a Neutral at Goldman
GSV Capital (GSVC) initiated with a Buy at Roth Capital
GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) initiated with an Overweight at Morgan Stanley
Glori Energy (GLRI) initiated with an Outperform at RW Baird
Immersion (IMMR) initiated with a Buy at B. Riley
Magna (MGA) initiated with a Neutral at UBS
Perrigo (PRGO) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Salix (SLXP) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
SunEdison (SUNE) initiated with a Hold at Brean Capital
SunPower (SPWR) initiated with a Buy at Brean Capital
Supernus (SUPN) initiated with a Hold at Jefferies
Synaptics (SYNA) initiated with a Buy at Sterne Agee
Varonis (VRNS) initiated with an Outperform at Imperial Capital
XenoPort (XNPT) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Eli Lilly (LLY) said it will acquire Novartis Animal Health (NVS) for $5.4B in all-cash transaction
Novartis (NVS) said it will divest Vaccines business to GSK (GSK) for $7.1B and said it will acquire GSK's oncology products for $14.5B
Novartis (NVS), GSK Consumer Healthcare (GSK) formed a joint venture
Valeant (VRX) said in a filing that it intends to propose merger with Allergan (AGN); Allergan said it will evaluate any offer, if received, from Valeant and Pershing Square
Netflix (NFLX) said it opposes Comcast (CMCSA)-Time Warner Cable (TWC) deal
Netflix (NFLX) said it sees adding $1-$2 per month for new subscribers
Manchester United (MANU) said David Moyes has left as manager
Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
BNY Mellon (BK), Potlatch (PCH), Regions Financial (RF), Carlisle (CSL), Signature Bank (SBNY), TAL Education (XRS), Western Alliance (WAL), Great Southern Bancorp (GSBC), GulfMark Offshore (GLF), Helix Energy (HLX), Rush Enterprises (RUSHA), First Defiance Financial (FDEF), Celanese (CE), Rent-A-Center (RCII), Customers Bancorp (CUBI), Cadence Design (CDNS), Matthews (MATW), Hexcel (HXL), Bank of Hawaii (BOH), Rambus (RMBS), PLX Technology (PLXT), Waste Connections (WCN), Banner Corp. (BANR), Netflix (NFLX), Exactech (EXAC)
Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Teck Resources (TCK), Brown & Brown (BRO), Healthstream (HSTM), Werner (WERN), Glacier Bancorp (GBCI), Zions Bancorp (ZION), Wilshire Bancorp (WIBC), Umpqua Holdings (UMPQ), Forward Air (FWRD)
Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Mercantile Bank (MBWM), BancorpSouth (BXS)
Ackman, Valeant (VRX) team up on Allergan (AGN) bid, WSJ reports
Barclays (BCS) to exit parts of commodities business, NY Times says
Citigroup (C) looks to sell about 50 branches in California, Bloomberg reports
Investment banks (MS, C, USB, WFC, JPM, GS, BAC) battling over stock trading, WSJ reports
Companies with cloud businesses (GOOG, AMZN, RAX) worried about Aereo case, Re/code says
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) says Novartis (NVS) deal could lead to more disposals, Reuters reports
Novartis (NVS) CEO says bolt-on acquisitions still possible, Reuters reports
Agios Pharmaceuticals (AGIO) files to sell 2M shares of common stock
Allison Transmission (ALSN) files to sell 25M shares for holders
FireEye (FEYE) files to sell 13.3M shares of common stock for holders
ePlus (PLUS) files to sell 1.79M shares of common for holders