Frontrunning: November 20

  • More QE could distort rather than deliver (FT)
  • Soros Buying Gold as Record Prices Seen on Stimulus (BBG)
  • EU Leaders Face Greek Aid Gap in Brinkmanship With IMF (BBG)
  • Weak data point to bigger economic drag from Sandy (Reuters)
  • Shirakawa Pushes Back With Criticism of Abe Unlimited Easing (BBG) But... but... Bernanke??
  • French Downgrade Widens Gulf With Germany as Talks Loom (BBG)
  • Japanese Poll Shows LDP Advantage Ahead of Election (WSJ)
  • BOJ in the Balance as Next Government Picks Top Posts (BBG)
  • Exchanges Get Closer Inspection (WSJ)
  • Greece edges closer to €44bn bailout (FT)
  • Japan Government to Spend 1 Trillion Yen on Next Stimulus (BBG)
  • China’s Richest Woman Divorces Husband, Fortune Declines (BBG)
  • Judge Tosses Suit Over AIG - Ex-CEO Claimed New York Fed Breached Fiduciary Duty to Insurer's Shareholders (WSJ)


Overnight Media Digest


* Moody's stripped France of its triple-A rating, following in the footsteps of Standard & Poor's and delivering a stinging critique of President Hollande's attempts to turn the economy around.

* Intel Corp was hit with the surprise departure of its longtime Chief Executive Paul Otellini as the company, which makes most of the chips found in personal computers, pushes to restore its sway over the high-tech sector amid an industry shift to smartphones and other mobile devices.

* JPMorgan Chase named finance executive Marianne Lake to succeed Douglas Braunstein as chief financial officer of the largest U.S. bank. The appointment, effective early next year, makes Lake one of the most powerful women on Wall Street.

* Honeywell International Inc said on Monday it expects the bulk of looming U.S. defense cuts to be implemented, and in a sharp break with rivals said it welcomes the reductions.

* U.S. hedge fund Jana Partners LLC launched a proxy battle for change at Canada's Agrium Inc naming five candidates for election to the company's board, including Jana managing partner Barry Rosenstein.




Paul Otellini is stepping down from the top job at Intel , leaving no clear successor in place for the first time at the world's biggest chipmaker.


Buyout group Terra Firma agreed to buy Annington Homes from Nomura in a deal worth 3.2 billion pounds.


The EU's much-maligned civil servants are facing a cull and renewed pay restraint as the price of possible British support for an agreement on the bloc's long-term budget.


George Osborne is considering a new tax raid on the pension contributions of richer voters, after rejecting the idea of a "wealth tax."


JPMorgan Chase & Co on Monday named Marianne Lake, financial chief of its retail banking unit, as chief financial officer of the company.


France suffered the second downgrade of its sovereign debt rating this year when Moody's, the U.S. rating agency, removed its triple A ranking on Monday night.


U.S. banks are racing to fill a little-noticed capital shortfall by issuing billions of dollars of preferred shares.


HSBC is weighing a sale of its $9.5 billion stake in Ping An Insurance, as the bank withdraws from non-core businesses amid a global drive to improve profitability.



* The president and chief executive of Intel Corp, Paul Otellini, is retiring after 40 years with the company. Intel said it would prepare to transition to a new leader over the next six months.

* JPMorgan Chase named a new chief financial officer on Monday, the latest management shake-up by the bank after a multibillion-dollar trading blunder earlier this year. Marianne Lake, will replace Douglas Braunstein as CFO early next year.

* Moody's Investors Service downgraded France's sovereign debt rating by one notch, to Aa1 from Aaa, the agency said on Monday, citing the country's uncertain fiscal outlook as a result of "deteriorating economic prospects."

* News Corp is starting to look like its old self again. The media conglomerate, which had been on its heels for more than a year because of the phone hacking scandal in Britain, is looking to make acquisitions again.




* Three of Canada's largest provinces are leading a revived effort to create a single agency to oversee the country's securities markets, an initiative that comes nearly one year after the Supreme Court's rejection of a national regulator.

Ontario has long been the closest provincial ally of the federal government in its fight to reform the country's patchwork system of securities regulation. But British Columbia and Alberta are also expressing a new openness to replacing Canada's 13 provincial and territorial regulators with a single entity that would police the buying and selling of securities.

* The pressure is on Ontario's Education Minister to avert further labour strife and approve five tentative deals that secondary school teachers say are within the stringent financial parameters dictated by the province.

The agreements, which Laurel Broten insisted must be "substantively identical" to terms agreed with the English Catholic teachers' union in July, came this weekend after school boards asked the Minister to define the phrase.

Reports in the business section:

* A new private equity firm, backed by members of Atlantic Canada's McCain and Sobey families, looked at 100 Canadian companies in a search for its first investment - but, in the end, it didn't travel far for its inaugural deal.

The McCain-Sobey vehicle, SeaFort Capital Inc, is buying A.W. Leil Holdings Ltd, a crane rental business based in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, the home community of the Sobey supermarket family and not far from the McCains' New Brunswick frozen food base.

* Agrium Inc says a U.S. hedge fund's efforts to replace much of its board and spin off its retail unit is not supported by most shareholders, and is doomed to failure.

"We listen to our shareholders and the overwhelming majority continue to support the company's position," Mike Wilson, Agrium's president and chief executive officer, said as Jana Partners LLC launched a proxy battle to replace five of the company's 11 board members.


* Documents show the sister of Alberta Premier Alison Redford used her position as a health board executive to attend and hold Progressive Conservative party events on the taxpayers' dime. There was money for liquor, travel, hotels, flowers and bug repellent.

Wildrose party Leader Danielle Smith, while releasing the documents Monday, said a bigger investigation is needed since Lynn Redford and those who signed off on those expenses remain executives with Alberta's health superboard.


* Amid growing investor discontent at Rona Inc, its U.S. suitor is retreating backstage as the battle for control of the Canadian company plays out in the weeks ahead.

Lowe's Companies Inc on Monday reaffirmed its interest in a Canadian acquisition as a way to build size. The comment was important because it means it still wants to do a deal after failing to win the backing of Rona's board and withdrawing in September its C$14.50 ($14.56) per share offer.

* A decision that killed BCE Inc's multibillion dollar bid for Astral Media Inc may have, ironically, helped pave the way for the deal's completion.

The country's largest telecommunications and media company filed a fresh offer for Astral with broadcast regulators on Monday, outlining changes and concessions it will make in order to win approval. The amendments are based on the lengthy and detailed decision issued by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on Oct. 18 that flatly rejected BCE's original C$3.38 billion offer.




-- China's large tyre companies are looking to create a stabilisation fund aimed at stabilising the prices of natural rubber, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Tuesday quoting sources from an official rubber industry body.


-- The company that equipped China's first aircraft carrier is ready to build more seagoing carriers, said Hu Wenming, chairman of China State Shipbuilding Corp, during the 18th National Congress that ended last week.

-- Police from China and the United States have arrested 73 suspects for running a joint operation to sell fake bags internationally. The police seized more than 20,000 counterfeit bags with fake Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Coach tags and destroyed 37 production and sales sites in May. The gang was believed to have sold more than 5 billion yuan of fake bags.


-- China's communist party must empathise with the people and adhere to the spirit of the 18th National Congress to promote social harmony and improve the livelihood of the people.


Fly On The Wall 7:00 am Market Recap



AK Steel (AKS) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
American Axle (AXL) upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies
Archer Daniels (ADM) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Boardwalk Pipeline (BWP) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Expedia (EXPE) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays
Joy Global (JOY) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at BMO Capital
Penn National (PENN) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
Pentair (PNR) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Peoples Bancorp (PEBO) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Realty Income (O) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital
Research in Motion (RIMM) upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies
SVB Financial (SIVB) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Vantiv (VNTV) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Whiting USA Trust (WHZ) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at RW Baird
Whole Foods (WFM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Zipcar (ZIP) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman


Cliffs Natural (CLF) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Emerson (EMR) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer
Greif (GEF) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
Intel (INTC) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Laredo Petroleum (LPI) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital


Aetna (AET) initiated with a Buy at Lazard Capital
Boston Scientific (BSX) initiated with a Buy at Stifel Nicolaus
CareFusion (CFN) initiated with a Buy at Stifel Nicolaus
Christopher & Banks (CBK) initiated with a Buy at Capstone
Coach (COH) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Columbia Banking (COLB) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
Covidien (COV) initiated with a Buy at Brean Capital
Deckers Outdoor (DECK) initiated with an Outperform at Wedbush
Geospace (GEOS) initiated with a Buy at Dahlman Rose
Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) initiated with a Hold at Stifel Nicolaus
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) initiated with a Hold at Stifel Nicolaus
MPLX (MPLX) initiated with a Neutral at UBS
MPLX (MPLX) initiated with an Overweight at Morgan Stanley
Millennial Media (MM) initiated with a Buy at Janney Capital
Realogy (RLGY) initiated with a Neutral at Goldman
Realogy (RLGY) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Realogy (RLGY) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
The Medicines Co. (MDCO) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
Umpqua Holdings (UMPQ) initiated with an Underperform at Credit Suisse
UnitedHealth (UNH) initiated with a Buy at Lazard Capital


Bayer (BAYRY) won’t increase bid for Schiff Nutrition (SHF)
Schulze reportedly seeking 30-day extension for bid on Best Buy (BBY), Bloomberg reported
JPMorgan (JPM) named Marianne Lake CFO
Atlas Resource Partners (ARP) to acquire DTE (DTE) unit for $255M
SandRidge Energy (SD) adopted stockholder rights plan, issued share dividend
Credit Suisse (CS) to combine asset management unit with private bank
Quanta Services (PWR) announced agreement to sell telecom units to Dycom (DY) for $275M
UnitedHealth (UNH) acquired 60% of Amil's outstanding shares in October
SunCoke Energy (SXC) and VISA Steel announced Indian joint venture
Statoil (STO) and Wintershall signed strategic gas supply agreement
Syngenta (SYT) to acquire Sunfield Seeds, details not disclosed
CBRE Group (CBG) acquired EA Shaw
Valmont (VMI) acquired manufacturing assets of Katana Summit
Sunshine Heart (SSH) received unconditional FDA approval for U.S. pivotal trial
Jack in the Box (JACK) provided 2014-2016 long-term goals, including targeting SSS sales growth of 2% to 3% annually at JITB company restaurants and 3% to 4% annually at Qdoba company restaurants


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Hormel Foods (HRL), Dycom (DY), Krispy Kreme (KKD), Brocade (BRCD), Shoe Carnival (SCVL), Agilent (A)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
ShangPharma (SHP), Trina Solar (TSL), Navios Maritime (NM), America's Car-Mart (CRMT), Jack in the Box (JACK), Xueda Education (XUE), Urban Outfitters (URBN), Bob Evans (BOBE)


Federal labor officials said  their top priority is to decide whether to seek an injunction on behalf of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) which filed a complaint last week to stop worker protests at its stores over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Wall Street Journal reports
The SEC is stepping up oversight of stock exchanges as they scramble to catch up to trading advantages that some say have developed for sophisticated clients at the expense of ordinary investors, the Wall Street Journal reports
Shareholders in commodity trader Glencore (GLNCY) voted overwhelmingly in favor of its  $31B takeover of miner Xstrata (XSRAY), Reuters reports
Germany and France reached agreement under which each government would hold a 12% stake in EADS (EADSY) moving forward, according German newspaper Handelsblatt, Reuters reports
Exxon Mobil (XOM), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) and their partners in Kazakhstan’s Kashagan oil field face a delay of at least two years on a plan to boost output 20% percent, reducing the time they have to recoup costs in the $46B project that’s already running eight years late, sources say, Bloomberg reports
The 12 year rally in gold is set to continue next year as central bank stimulus spurs investors from John Paulson to George Soros to accumulate the highest combined bullion holdings ever, Bloomberg reports


Alon USA Partners (ALDW) 10M share IPO priced at $16.00
Atlas Resource Partners (ARP) commences offering of 6.8M common units
C&J Energy (CJES) files to sell 3.297M shares of common stock for holder
Martin Midstream Partners (MMLP) commences offering of 3M common units
Memorial Production (MEMP) files to sell $205M common units for limited partners
Northfield Bancorp (NFBK) commences stock offering
Primerica (PRI) files to sell 3.6M shares for Warburg Pincus
Superconductor Technologies (SCON) files to sell common stock


1Globe capital reports 7.09% passive stake in Aeterna Zentaris (AEZS)
Carl Icahn raises stake in Chesapeake (CHK) to 8.89%
Master Global Assets reports 5.35% passive stake in GAIN Capital (GCAP)
SAC Capital reports 5% passive stake in The Medicines Co. (MDCO)
Tiger Global reports 9.9% passive stake in Groupon (GRPN)




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