Frontrunning: September 24

  • World on track for record food prices 'within a year' due to US drought (Telegraph)
  • Foxconn halts production at plant after mass brawl (BBC)
  • Germany Losing Patience With Spain as EU Warns on Crisis Effort (Bloomberg)
  • Fed Recovery Doubts Spur Investor Bid for Treasuries (Bloomberg)
  • Japan protests as Chinese ships enter disputed waters (Reuters)
  • In Shark-Infested Waters, Resolve of Two Giants Is Tested (NYT)
  • China jails Wang Lijun for 15 years (FT)
  • China closes in on Bo Xilai after jailing ex-police chief (Reuters)
  • European Leaders Struggle to Overcome Crisis Stalemate (Bloomberg)
  • Politicians 1: Austerity 0 - Portugal Gives Ground on Worker Contributions (WSJ)
  • Obama Controls Most of His Money as Republicans Have More (Bloomberg)
  • Coeure Says Not Clear That Further ECB Interest-Rate Cut Needed (Bloomberg)
  • France Seeks Labour Overhaul (WSJ)

Overnight Media Digest


* Mitt Romney will pick up the pace of his campaigning this week and stress policy proposals that he believes would put more Americans back to work, such as cracking down on Chinese trade practices, pursuing more free-trade agreements and increasing domestic oil and gas production.

* Apple Inc's new iPhone 5 remained a hot item following the sales kickoff Friday, with customers flocking to stores to buy the new handset. But they seemed to have little luck finding the gadget at the Silicon Valley company's retail partners.

* China moved towards concluding its political crisis and setting up a once-a-decade leadership change, when a court handed a 15-year jail sentence to the former police chief of Chongqing city who triggered turmoil in the Communist Party elite.

* American Airlines continued to rack up high numbers of flight delays and cancellations, blaming a dispute with its pilots union.

* The chief executive of Zhejiang Geely-owned Volvo Cars, Stefan Jacoby, will suspend his duties for the next month after suffering a mild stroke last week, the company said. Chief Financial Officer Jan Gurander will serve as acting CEO.




BAE Systems has warned it will walk away from its proposed tie-up with EADS if the deal waters down its special relationship with the Pentagon.


British parents will be allowed to use money locked up in pension schemes to help their children obtain mortgages, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said.


Profit-starved hedge fund managers, best known as masters of the financial universe, are turning to an unlikely place for their next windfall.


Fidelity, one of Britain's most influential investors, is gearing up for a stand-off with Steve Morgan, founder and executive chairman of Redrow.


Europe's banks are on track to dispose of 20 billion euros ($25.98 billion) worth of loans backed by offices, shops and hotels this year.


Facebook is working with a data company that can track whether people who see ads on the site buy advertised products in stores.


DRB-Hicom, the Malaysian owner of Lotus, has been hit by legal and supplier problems as it prepares a fresh turnaround plan for the struggling carmaker.


French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has said Greece should be given more time to meet the terms of its international bailout.


Xstrata is set to conclude consultations with its top shareholders this week about 140 million pound-worth of retention packages for its most senior executives.



* Foxconn Technology Co Ltd, a major supplier to some of the world's electronics giants including Apple Inc , said it closed one of its large Chinese plants early Monday after police were called in to break up a fight among factory employees.

* Canadian autoworkers at Ford Motor Co have voted to accept the contract that their union leadership negotiated last week, their union said Sunday.




* Ottawa is opening the door to negotiations on a host of issues with the new Parti Quebecois government, while warning that there is no appetite for talk of new powers or money.

* The Harper government is embarking on an ambitious effort to develop a Canada-first military purchasing strategy - one that aims to funnel as many procurement dollars as possible to domestic firms with the potential to be leaders in their field.

Reports in the business section:

* CNOOC Ltd is under fire for its human rights record, with critics urging Ottawa to impose tough obligations on the Chinese state-owned oil company as a condition of its acquisition of Calgary-based Nexen Inc.


* British Foreign Secretary William Hague has revealed plans to open a series of joint "Commonwealth embassies" in co-operation with ex-colonial "first cousins" Canada, Australia and New Zealand to enhance the countries' presence on the world stage and reduce some of the costs associated with running separate diplomatic missions abroad.


* The Canadian Auto Workers union overwhelmingly approved a new four-year labour agreement with Ford Motor Co during a series of ratification meetings over the weekend.

European economic update:

  • Hungary Retail Trade -2.6% y/y – lower than expected. Consensus -1.8% y/y. Previous -1.7% y/y.
  • Germany IFO Expectations 93.2 – lower than expected. Consensus 95.0. Previous 94.2.
  • Germany IFO Business Survey 101.4 – lower than expected. Consensus 102.5. Previous 102.3.

Fly On The Wall 7:00 am snapshot



Allergan (AGN) upgraded to Outperform from Underperform at CLSA
Body Central (BODY) upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
Cooper Tire (CTB) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Lamar Advertising (LAMR) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
PVH Corp. (PVH) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray
Questar (STR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Rubicon (RBCN) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
Time Warner (TWX) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
ViroPharma (VPHM) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo


AK Steel (AKS) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup
Actuant (ATU) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Atmel (ATML) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Baxter (BAX) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Crown Castle (CCI) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie
Finisar (FNSR) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
First Commonwealth (FCF) downgraded to Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Flowserve (FLS) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Gorman-Rupp (GRC) downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies
IDEX Corp. (IEX) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Medicis (MRX) downgraded to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna
Micron (MU) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest
NICE Systems (NICE) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Providen (PROV) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
Questcor (QCOR) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Leerink
Regal-Beloit (RBC) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Sequenom (SQNM) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
U.S. Steel (X) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Veeco (VECO) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Webster Financial (WBS) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Genworth (GNW) initiated with a Neutral at Macquarie
On Assignment (ASGN) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
inContact (SAAS) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray


MetLife (MET) amends purchase agreement with GE Capital (GE), GE to buy $7B in MetLife bank deposits
ACI Worldwide (ACIW) announced agreement with IBM (IBM) to repurchase warrants
Kellogg (K) and Wilmer International announced China joint venture
Curtiss-Wright (CW) to acquire assets of PG Drives Technology
Situs acquired Deutsche Bank's (DB) commercial mortgage loan business
Time Warner Cable (TWC) signed multi-year deal to call NFL Network and NFL RedZone
Big Ten Network returned to DISH (DISH)
Total (TOT) announced farm-in agreement with Petronas in Mozambique
Watson Pharmaceuticals (WPI) issued voluntary recall of Hydrocodone Bitartrate
CBRE Group (CBG) acquired its affiliate company in Vietnam
Publicis Groupe (PUBGY) to buy shares in LBi in the market through UBS Investment Bank and SNS Securities
CGG Veritas (CGV) acquired Fugro’s Geoscience Division and created partnership
Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) acquired Acumus Limited


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Lennar (LEN)


As 2012 heads to Q4, money managers who caught the year's rally are sitting on percentage gains well into the double-digits on stocks. As they look ahead to what could be a choppy few months, some are considering staying on the sidelines for the rest of the year, the Wall Street Journal reports
Toyota (TM) plans to roll out 21 new models powered by electric-gas engines over the next few years and predicted strong sales, the Wall Street Journal reports
The Chinese ambassador to Canada warned against letting domestic politics drive the Canadian government's decision on whether to approve a Cnooc’s (CEO) proposed $15.1B  takeover of Nexen (NXY), Reuters reports
Euro zone states are preparing to allow the bloc's permanent bailout fund to leverage its capital in the same way as its predecessor so it can reach a capacity of more than 2T euros and rescue big countries if necessary, according to Der Spiegel, Reuters reports
Ford (F) employees represented by the Canadian Auto Workers ratified a four-year contract that eliminates most cost-of-living raises in favor of bonuses, extends the time it takes for a new employee to reach full pay and adds 600 jobs, Bloomberg reports
Fujitsu Limited (FJTSY) is selling its semiconductor business as part of a restructuring effort, sources say, and  hired UBS AG as financial adviser for the business worth about $2.6B, Bloomberg reports


Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5 winners include AMT, CCI, SBAC, CAVM and TER
MasterCard (MA) shares have more room to run
Facebook (FB) stock could be headed to the teens: $15
Intuit's (INTU) good results and promising outlook have been ignored
Big 5's (BGFV) changes could attract investors


Casella Waste (CWST) files to sell 10M shares of common stock
Ramco-Gershenson (RPT) enters 6M share common equity sales agreement
ZaZa Energy (ZAZA) files to sell 34.65M shares of common stock for holders


Elliot Associates lowers stake in Brocade (BRCD) to 5.9% from 8.4%
Kopp reports 5.5% stake in Oclaro (OCLR)
Raging Capital reports 5.6% passive stake in TheStreet (TST)
SAC Capital Advisors reports 5.5% passive stake in Bill Barrett (BBG)
Visium reports 9.41% passive stake in Sunesis Pharmaceuticals (SNSS)