Frontrunning: April 25
- Merkel Pushes Back Against Hollande Call to End Austerity Drive (Bloomberg)
- ECB's Draghi throws crisis ball back to governments (Reuters)
- Greek Bank Chief Warns of a Possible Euro Exit (WSJ)
- China’s Wen Says Economy Will Maintain Robust Expansion (Bloomberg)
- North Korea's nuclear test ready "soon" (Reuters)
- Hong Kong Peg Architect Says Convertible Yuan `Long Way Off’ (Bloomberg)
- Hollande seeks wider EU fiscal pact (FT)
- Gavyn Davies: Why UK GDP continues to lag the G7 (FT)
- U.S. Lost AAA on Danger of Liquidity Crisis, S&P’s Kraemer Says (Bloomberg)
Overnight Media Digest via Reuters:
* Despite a recession in Europe and slower growth in China, some big U.S. industrial companies are reporting surprisingly robust results for the first quarter and sounding confident about the rest of the year.
* News Corp's James Murdoch, at a media-ethics inquiry, was grilled about the company's relationship with the U.K. government minister who oversaw a crucial regulatory review of its effort to gain full control of BSkyB.
* A former BP engineer was arrested and accused of destroying evidence relating to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.
* Ford Motor completed its long journey back to Wall Street's good graces when Fitch Ratings became the first debt-rating firm to lift its rating on the auto maker's debt to investment grade.
* The U.S. Agriculture Department said Tuesday that a California dairy cow tested positive for mad-cow disease, the first appearance of the brain-wasting illness in the U.S. since 2006.
* American International Group sued Steven Udvar-Hazy, the co-founder and former CEO of its giant aircraft-leasing business, accusing the industry veteran of stealing trade secrets and other confidential information for a rival company he now runs.
* Shutterfly Inc will acquire Kodak Gallery from Eastman Kodak Co for $23.8 million after no other bidders came forward with a higher bid for the online photo service, people familiar with the matter said.
BP ENGINEER ARRESTED IN GULF SPILL PROBE
The U.S. government has filed its first criminal charges in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill, accusing a former BP engineer of intentionally destroying evidence about the size of the disaster.
USMANOV TO CONTROL RUSSIA'S MEGAFON
Peace has broken out in one of Russia's longest-running corporate battles, with the oligarch Alisher Usmanov set to take over the country's second-biggest mobile operator.
GANEK LINK TO DELL INSIDER CASE
David Ganek, a hedge fund manager and prominent art collector, participated in a phone call when colleagues allegedly discussed Dell's confidential earnings, according to people familiar with a U.S. insider trading investigation.
GOOGLE FOUNDER BACKS PLAN TO MINE ASTEROIDS
A new company backed by Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt has revealed plans to mine asteroids using robots with the aim of bringing precious metals such as platinum back to earth.
COMMODITY HOUSES COURT OUTSIDE INVESTORS
The world's largest commodity trading houses have revealed how they are courting outside investors including private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds as they seek to expand beyond their traditional business of buying and selling raw materials.
FITNESS FIRST LOOKS TO OFFLOAD GYMS
Fitness First is looking to sell more than a third of its UK gym portfolio following a debt-for-equity swap with lenders in which the company's owner, BC Capital Partners, could see its shareholding wiped out.
LLOYDS BEGINS SALE OF IRISH PROPERTY LOANS
Lloyds has launched the sale of its 360 million euros ($475.31 million) portfolio of Irish property loans as the government-controlled lender pushes to shed the legacy of its ill-timed takeover of HBOS.
* Accretive Health, one of the United States' largest medical debt-collection companies, is under fire in Minnesota for placing employees in hospitals and demanding patients pay before receiving treatment, documents show.
* An inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission is focused on at least three Hollywood movie studios and creates a potential roadblock for the industry's plans to expand in China, one of the world's largest markets.
* Allegations of widespread bribery at Wal-Mart's Mexican subsidiary continued to reverberate on Tuesday, with the company beginning a campaign to limit the damage as its shares declined further.
* Two years after the BP oil spill, federal prosecutors have filed the first criminal charges related to the accident, accusing a former company engineer of destroying evidence by deleting text messages that discussed the amount of oil leaking from the stricken well.
* With a rising portion of Spain's $876 billion in home mortgages at risk of default, many economists say some of Spain's biggest banks will need a bailout.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
- Canadian house prices are now almost five times higher than incomes, the latest illustration of why policy makers are worried about parts of the housing market.
Reports in the business section:
- No single proposal to fix Canada's retirement savings woes, such as expanding the Canada Pension Plan or increasing retirement age, will be enough, a new study says.
- Magna International Inc's founder has raised the ire of a leading investor-advisory firm over a series of transactions in which the company sold property to him and a former executive at a loss.
- A Serbian man has been barred from entering Canada on suspicion that he belongs to a secret police service in the former Yugoslavia that spied on Western governments and institutions during the Communist era.
- Alberta provincial officials denied any wrongdoing in a case involving a toddler who was put into foster care for nearly two years following an autopsy that wrongly classified his stepbrother's accidental death as a homicide.
Reports in the business section:
- Rogers Communications, Canada's largest wireless operator and leading cable power in Ontario, saw its position in both markets slip again as competitors continued to chip away at the company's market share.
- The Bank of Canada is counting mostly on consumers to carry the economy on their shoulders this year, but two key measures of consumer spending and spending intentions showed Tuesday that consumers are in fact pulling back.
http://r.reuters.com/cec87s Keywords: CANADA/PRESSDIGEST
European Economic Data:
- Spanish Producer Prices 0.8% m/m 3.3% y/y. Previous 0.6% m/m 3.4% y/y.
- UK GDP 1QA -0.2% q/q 0.0% y/y – lower than expected. Consensus 0.1% m/m 0.3% y/y. Previous -0.3% m/m 0.5% y/y.
- UK Index of Services -0.4% m/m – lower than expected. Consensus 0.2% m/m. Previous 0.2% m/m. Revised 0.0% m/m.
- UK CBI Trends Total Orders -8 – lower than expected. Consensus -6. Previous -8.
- UK CBI Trends Selling Prices 7 – lower than expected. Consensus 26. Previous 24.
- UK CBI Business Optimism 22 – higher than expected. Consensus -18. Previous -25.