Frontrunning: April 26
- Fed Holds Rates Steady, But Outlooks Shift (Hilsenrath)
- Has Obama Stacked the Fed? Not Really (Hilsenrath)
- High Court Skeptical of Obama’s Use of Power as Campaign Starts (Bloomberg)
- Europe Seen Adding Growth Terms to Budget Rules as Focus Shifts (Bloomberg)
- China Reaches Out to Its Adversaries Over Rare Earths (WSJ)
- Iran Says It May Halt Nuclear Program Over Sanctions (Bloomberg)
- Europe Shifts Crisis Focus to Growth as Merkel Backs Draghi Call (Bloomberg)
- Merkel Wants Rules for Raw Material Derivative Trade (Reuters)
- Evercore Profit Falls 62% as Investment Banking Expenses Rise (Bloomberg)
- Google's first Android prototype smartphone was a Blackberry rip off (Inquirer)
- Apple Profit Surge Fueled by China Teachers to Furniture Makers (Bloomberg)
- Arizona Immigration Argument May Lead to National ID (Bloomberg)
Overnight Media Digest via Reuters:
* Supreme Court justices challenged the Obama administration's assertions that Arizona exceeded its powers by directing police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop.
* Federal Reserve officials reaffirmed their plan to keep short-term interest rates near zero until late 2014 to support economic growth, but hints emerged of policy makers' diverging views about how the central bank might proceed.
* News Corp Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch on Wednesday faced a recitation of criticisms that have piled up at his door during a long career, including allegations that he uses his company's newspapers to collect political favors and push his commercial interests.
* The Securities and Exchange Commission faced fresh questions about its efforts to attract whistleblowers who might help regulators uncover wrongdoing on Wall Street, following revelations that the agency unwittingly revealed a tipster's identity during a probe.
* Two bundles of bonds that once helped sicken American International Group Inc now have Wall Street salivating.
Some of the biggest banks are teaming up to jockey for the securities, which may be sold in coming days by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The banks would then sell the bonds off to clients such as money managers, hedge funds and insurance companies.
* Groupon Inc Chief Executive Andrew Mason told the company's employees on Wednesday that the daily-deals site needs to grow up - right after he apologized for drinking too much beer.
* Bank of America Corp and UBS AG are battling for star bankers and wrestling with major defections in a high-stakes fight that threatens to cost them clients at a time when both institutions are retooling their investment-banking operations.
The latest strike came Wednesday as Bank of America said it hired Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, a veteran banker at UBS who will lead Bank of America Merrill Lynch's businesses across Europe and emerging markets excluding Asia.
UK'S OSBORNE HOLDS FAST DESPITE DOUBLE DIP
British finance minister George Osborne said he had no intention of easing the government's deficit reduction plan on Wednesday after the economy plunged into a double-dip recession and the longest downturn for more than a century.
UK BANKS TAKE PROVISIONS FOR PPI PAST 6 BILLION POUNDS
Three of the UK's biggest banks are braced to increase their provisions for mis-sold loan insurance by as much as a third following a sharp rise in the number of complaints received in recent weeks.
IMF SAYS SPANISH BANKS MUST GO FURTHER
Despite a wave of forced mergers and compulsory provisions some of Spain's savings banks still pose a threat to financial stability and must strengthen their balance sheets, according to an International Monetary Fund report.
VETERAN INVESTOR FLOWERS LEAVES US FOR LONDON
Christopher Flowers, the veteran private equity investor, has moved to London from the United States, seeing a shift in the balance of investment opportunities to Europe.
ITALIAN COMPANIES ARE FORCED INTO BOARD SHAKE-UPS
Executives from many of Italy's most powerful companies are being forced to resign their board seats by a law that takes aim at the culture of cross-shareholdings which the government considers a threat to financial stability.
GOLDMAN BOSS SAYS HE WILL STAY ON
Lloyd Blankfein has broken his two-year media silence, insisting he has no plans to step down as chairman or chief executive of Goldman Sachs.
BOLT BOOSTS VIRGIN MEDIA SUBSCRIBERS
Customer numbers at Virgin Media climbed at their fastest rate in two years on the back of an advertising campaign with sprinter Usain Bolt highlighting its high-speed broadband services ahead of the Olympics.
* An increasing number of the nation's large banks are aggressively pursuing low-income customers with products that can carry high fees and are largely untouched by consumer protections.
* The bribery allegations surrounding Wal-Mart cast into relief the transformation of the once-obscure Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law enacted in 1977 that was rarely enforced.
* Some environmental and consumer groups say that increased use of Dow Chemical's herbicide, 2,4-D, could cause cancer, hormone disruption and other health problems.
* The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, on Wednesday dismissed proposals to escalate the Fed's economic stimulus campaign as "reckless," arguing that the costs would be high and the benefits uncertain.
* The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday approved an updated policy that makes it harder for employers to use background checks to systematically rule out hiring anyone with a criminal conviction.
* Speaking before an inquiry on Wednesday, the News Corporation chief, Rupert Murdoch, sought to deflect suggestions that he wielded influence with British officials to further his corporate interests.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
The federal government has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to put the brakes on the impending decriminalization of a key law that would permit a form of living off the avails of prostitution.
- Canadian companies that want to bring in highly skilled foreign workers temporarily will be able to do so faster and pay them less under new federal immigration rules aimed at addressing the country's persistent labour shortages.
Reports in the business section:
- Daimler AG's Orion bus manufacturing plant in Mississauga will close within the next 12 months as the Germany-based transportation and automotive company abandons the North American transit bus business, eliminating the jobs of about 200 active workers and another 200 on layoff.
- Horst Prelog, president of the Cosma unit of Magna International Inc, has left after 10 years in the job amid a management shakeup at the most important division of the auto parts giant.
- Elections Canada investigators are seeking phone records to trace calls seemingly designed to send Northern Ontario voters to the wrong polling stations.
- The federal government says it plans to appeal a ruling from the Ontario Court of Appeal that struck down several anti-prostitution laws. The Conservatives say they plan to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to review the decision.
Reports in the business section:
- Rogers Communications Inc chief executive Nadir Mohamed is resetting expectations for the country's biggest wireless company, and its investors, warning Wednesday that growth will continue to "moderate" owing to persistent competition across the telecom and media giant's businesses.
- Goldcorp Inc is warning of potential changes to its production and cost guidance for 2012 after a disappointing start to the year at its flagship Red Lake operations in Ontario.
European Economic Date
- UK Nationwide Consumer Confidence 53 – higher than expected. Consensus 43. Previous 44.
- Denmark Unemployment Rate Gross Rate 6.20% - in line with expectations. Consensus 6.20%. Previous 6.20%.
- Sweden Consumer Confidence 4.7 – higher than expected. Consensus 1. Previous 0.
- Sweden Manufacturing Confidence s.a. -1 – in line with expectations. Consensus -1. Previous 1.
- Sweden Economic Tendency Survey 100.9 – higher than expected. Consensus 100.5. Previous 101.8. Revised 101.7.
- Sweden PPI -0.30% m/m 0.2% y/y - higher than expected. Consensus -0.30% m/m 0.10% y/y. Previous 0.40% m/m 0.50% y/y.
- Italian Business Confidence 89.5 – lower than expected. Consensus 92.1. Previous 92.1. Revised 91.1.
- Norway Unemployment Rate 2.60% - higher than expected. Consensus 2.50%. Previous 2.60%.
- UK BBA Loans for House Purchase 31888 – lower than expected. Consensus 34000. Previous 33103. Revised 32840.
- Euro Area Business Climate Indicator -0.52 – lower than expected. Consensus -0.3. Previous -0.3. Revised -0.28.
- Euro-Zone Consumer Confidence -19.9 – lower than expected. Consensus -19.8. Previous -19.8.
- Euro-Zone Economic Confidence 92.8 – lower than expected. Consensus 94.2. Previous 94.4. Revised 94.5.
- Euro-Zone Indust. Confidence -9 – lower than expected. Consensus -7. Previous -7.2. Revised -7.1.
- Euro-zone Services Confidence -2.4 – lower than expected. Consensus -0.5. Previous -0.3.