Frontrunning: October 29

  • Markets Go Dark Ahead of Storm (WSJ, RTRS, BBG, FT)
  • MF Global Problems Started Years Ago (WSJ)
  • Major Greek daily reprints Swiss accounts list, editor who published list to go on trial for violating data privacy laws (RTRS)
  • Coming soon to a USA near you: Hong Kong government imposes a property tax on overseas buyers (Bloomberg)
  • The pain in Spain is endless: Spain’s Pain Seen Intensifying as Slump Deepens Plight (BBG)
  • Las Vegas Sands Discusses Possible Settlement With Justice Department (WSJ)
  • Why Does the SEC Protect Banks’ Dirty Secrets? (BBG)
  • Honda slashes forecast on China territorial spat (AFP)
  • UBS shares jump on expected radical overhaul (Reuters) if UBS cuts 150% of workforce, shares will hit +?
  • CEOs Seeking Global Range Tilts Market to 8,000-Mile Jets (Bloomberg)

Overnight Media Digest


* Stock and options exchanges and their regulators will close U.S. markets on Monday, the first unscheduled, market-wide shutdown since September 2001, as Wall Street braced for Hurricane Sandy's approach.

* UBS AG is aiming to eliminate as many as 15 lines of business and a third or more of the jobs at its investment-banking division as part of a plan to restore the business to health, according to people involved with the effort.

* Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has expressed interest in buying book publisher Penguin Group, potentially undermining merger discussions between Penguin and Random House, people familiar with the situation said.

* Honda Motor Co Ltd slashed its earnings forecast for the current fiscal year, citing lower-than-expected vehicle sales and the impact of the strong yen.

* Demand for displays used in smartphones and tablets helped LG Display Co Ltd post its first quarterly net profit in a year, though its earnings missed analysts' forecasts.

* The pain at Viacom Inc's children's cable network has spread to its grown-up channels. Comedy Central's prime-time audience fell 19 percent in the four weeks through Oct. 21, while MTV's viewership declined 32 percent in the same period, according to Nielsen.

* Federal prosecutors and casino company Las Vegas Sands Corp have discussed settling a United States Justice Department probe into whether Sands violated money-laundering laws regarding a pair of high-rolling gamblers who were later charged with crimes, people familiar with the case said.

* English Premier League soccer games will move to NBC from Fox and ESPN next year under a new deal announced.



* All United States stock and options markets will close on Monday as Hurricane Sandy approaches, reversing course as Wall Street braces for the storm to barrel through the heart of the country's financial center.

* Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, the parent company of HarperCollins, is exploring a cash bid for Pearson Plc's Penguin book division, a step that could ignite a bidding war for Penguin as the publishing industry begins to move toward consolidation.

* International Business Machines Corp scientists are reporting progress in a chip-making technology that is likely to ensure the shrinking of the size of the basic digital switch at the heart of modern microchips for more than another decade.

* Officials in the coastal city of Ningbo, China, promised to halt the expansion of a petrochemical plant after thousands of demonstrators clashed with the police during three days of protests that spotlighted the public's mounting discontent with industrial pollution.




* Tsunami warnings that were issued after a strong earthquake off the northwest coast of British Columbia have been lifted, allowing people who had moved to higher ground to return to their homes and assess what so far appears to be limited damage.

* Canada and Japan will begin their first round of free trade talks in late November -- what are expected to be difficult negotiations aimed at unlocking access to an Asian economy beset by import restrictions.

Reports in the business section:

* Malaysian state oil firm Petronas will renew a bid for gas producer Progress Energy Resources Corp, Petronas sources said, seeking to assure the Canadian government that the deal will benefit the country.

* A year ago Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd's Meadowbank mine in Nunavut was producing more bad news than gold.

But after ending 2011 with a loss, Agnico just reported its third consecutive quarter of profit, surprising analysts with higher-than-expected production from its large, open-pit operation.


* The mayor of a northern Ontario town where a section of the Trans-Canada Highway was washed away by heavy rain says it should be partly reopened within days.


* Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced it's cutting about 300 jobs across Canada, most of them in Montreal.

Julie-Catherine Racine, a spokesperson for Pfizer Canada, said Sunday the cuts will be spread across several locations, but the majority will be at the company's headquarters in the Montreal suburb of Kirkland.




-- The 1892 Chinese listed companies that have published their third-quarter earnings have on average seen a 0.55 percent decline in quarterly profit compared with the same period last year.


-- China's securities regulator may scrap approvals of mutual funds, potentially shortening the time required to launch a new fund to 20 working days.

-- Hedge fund managers True Arrow and Man Investments have both opened offices in mainland China seeking business opportunities.


-- From January to August, prosecutors investigated 12.7 percent more officials for crimes related to their office from a year ago, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Out of them, 75.9 percent were accused of corruption and taking bribes. The remainder were under investigation for dereliction of duty. The worst-hit sectors included engineering, construction, rail and transportation, finance and real estate.




- Russia's biggest air carrier Aeroflot may launch a low-cost airline for domestic flights in 2013, the paper reports citing the company's chief executive Vitaly Savelyev.

- The paper runs an interview with Michel Landel, chief executive of French catering-to-vouchers group Sodexo, who says 70 percent of company's staff in Russia are women.

- Hyundai Motor Co's signed a contract with ZIL car plant in Moscow to assemble commercial vehicles starting in 2013, the daily writes.


- Kremlin administration plans to move Russia's Supreme and Supreme Arbitration courts from Moscow to St Petersburg, the daily says.

- Former chief of Moscow metro Dmitry Gayev died on Saturday. His representatives plan to have all accusations made in connection with his alleged fraud acquitted, the paper says.

- The daily runs an interview with Konstantin Dolgov, the Foreign Ministry's human rights representative, who says the United States are not a model for democracy.

- Chinese top manufacturer of sport utility vehicles and pick-up trucks Great Wall Motor Co Ltd may start selling cars in Russia without local distributor in 2013, the daily writes.

- Russian railways have developed an investment programme for 2013 which may reach 411 billion roubles ($13.08 billion), the paper says.