Frontrunning: November 26

  • Goldman Turns Down Southern Europe Banks as Crisis Lingers (Bloomberg)
  • Euro Ministers Take Third Swing at Clearing Greek Payment (Bloomberg)
  • Aston Mahindra: Mahindra shares fall after Aston Martin bid reports (Reuters)
  • Chamber Sidestepped in Obama’s Talks on Avoiding Fiscal Cliff (Bloomberg)
  • Republicans and Democrats Differ on Taxes as Fiscal Cliff Looms (Bloomberg)
  • Republicans bargain hard over fiscal cliff (FT)
  • Catalan Pro-Independence Parties Win Regional Vote (BBG)
  • Shirakawa defends BoJ from attack (FT)
  • Run-off looms in Italy’s centre-left vote (FT)
  • BOJ rift surfaces over easing as political debate heats up (Reuters)
  • Barnier seeks ‘political will’ on bank union (FT)
  • New BOJ Members Sought More-Expansionary Wording (Bloomberg)
  • Osborne May Extend U.K. Austerity to 2018, IFS Says (Bloomberg)


Overnight Media Digest


* Another British icon could fall in the hands of an Indian buyer. On the weekend, Indian car maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd trumped an offer from Italian private-equity firm Investindustrial for a 50 percent stake in British car maker Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd.

* General Motors Co is betting it can make the 54-year-old Impala a head-turner again, all part of a broader plan to reinvigorate its offerings with 13 redesigned cars and trucks next year and regain the favor of American car shoppers.

* GlaxoSmithKline Plc offered to buy an additional stake of up to 31.8 percent in its Indian unit GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd at 3,900 Indian rupees ($70.16) per share, the U.K.-based company said in a statement Monday. ()

* Samsung Electronics Co said it is taking measures to address unfair labor practices at its Chinese factories, including overwork and denial of basic labor rights, in response to a labor group claim in September that the South Korean company has violated rules on worker conditions in China. ()

* From saucy News Corp tabloids to the venerable British Broadcasting Corp Britain's media has spent many months with an unflattering spotlight on the way it gathers and reports the news. Now, the industry is on tenterhooks ahead of a British judge's report on whether and how the country's print press should be reined in. ()




Political parties in favour of a referendum on Catalan independence won a majority in regional elections. Left-wing separatists became the second largest force in Catalonia's parliament for the first time, while the less radical incumbent party lost seats. Projected turn-out was the highest for a Catalan regional election in over 30 years.


At least three of the bank's 30 biggest shareholders have urged executives to follow the example of Swiss bank UBS and spin off some or all of its investment banking business.


European Union finance ministers must meet a December deadline on regional banking union to reassure "watchful" markets, EU commissioner Michel Barnier said in an interview. He backed a cap on bankers' bonuses, said there were better options for voting systems than the "double majority" favoured by the UK and said EU laws could eventually be changed to consolidate banking union.


The world's biggest fund manager is to launch an infrastructure investment unit, to cater to pension funds and insurance companies that want relatively safe assets with higher yields than government bonds. The move is expected to encourage other funds to invest in infrastructure.


A central body set up by the British treasury will seize control of the sale of public land sold by Whitehall departments, finance minister George Osborne will announce in next month's Autumn Statement.


The British Prime Minister took to Twitter to promise the government would "ensure everything is being done to help" people in parts of England and Wales hit by winds and torrential rain which have left two people dead and forced hundreds from their homes.


Microsoft has looked into opening shops in Britain to retail its own devices as well as those made by other companies which run on its Windows operating system. A decision will hinge on how well its stores in the United States are deemed to be performing.



* Autonomy's founder, Mike Lynch, says he was blindsided by a public relations onslaught from Hewlett-Packard, little of which had to do with the substance of HP's fraud claims about his company.

* Judges and lawmakers across the country are wrangling over whether and when law enforcement authorities can search suspects' cellphones without a warrant, and interpretations range widely.

* As many as 10,000 Twitter users reportedly face the threat of legal action because of comments posted on the Internet or forwarded to others in which they referred to a BBC report wrongly linking a former Conservative Party official to the sexual abuse of a child. The official, Alistair McAlpine, was not named in the Nov. 2 BBC report, but enough clues were provided that Twitter users were able to identify him - which they did, in great numbers.

* Trying to bolster her media empire, Oprah Winfrey has been seeking to attract younger audiences to her magazine, which has experienced a decline in advertising revenue since her talk show ended.




* Toronto Mayor Rob Ford facilitated a meeting between city water officials and a cosmetics company that was under investigation for alleged problems with its sewage discharge -- a company with which the Ford family has had a relationship through its label business, Deco Labels and Tags.

* Saskatchewan is covering cancer-care costs for an ailing refugee as Canada's prairie province offers a distinctly different vision for how the country should treat those who come here from afar, many of them needed to buttress the West's rapidly expanding economy.

Reports in the business section:

* The world's highest profile environmental legal battle, which pits U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp against a group of Ecuadorean villagers over decades of oil pollution in the Amazon, is set to make its Canadian courtroom debut this week. The tangled and undeniably bitter 19-year court fight resulted in a staggering $18.3 billion judgment from an Ecuadorean court against Chevron last year.

* Canada is preparing to revive long-stalled free trade talks with South Korea as the federal government shifts its negotiating focus from Europe to fast-growing Asia.


* Justin Trudeau's two-year-old mental wardrobe malfunction, in which he said Canada suffers from having Albertans in charge and asserts that Quebecers make the best prime ministers, may well cost the Liberals the by-election prize of Calgary Centre, whose residents go to the polls Monday. At last count, polls were within the statistical margin of error, with Conservative Joan Crockatt holding a small lead.


* Swiss prosecutors have reportedly indicted a former top executive of Canadian engineering and construction giant SNC Lavalin Group Inc, alleging he helped launder millions of dollars used to win contracts in Libya and other North African countries. Riadh Ben Aissa, a former vice president at the Montreal-based company who has been detained since the spring, is now facing charges related to his role in an alleged scheme connected to C$139 million ($140.02 million) in payments made by SNC Lavalin, Swiss broadcaster RTS and CBC News reported.

* The biggest Black Friday to date in Canada swept across the country with a flurry of before sunrise store openings and door-crasher deals at shopping malls and online retailers. What was once a strictly U.S. phenomenon on the days following U.S. Thanksgiving has been embraced by Canadian retailers eager to keep consumer shopping dollars on their home turf.




-- Liu Yuanchun, vice head of the economics faculty of Renmin University of China, expected economic growth in the world's second-largest economy to reach 8 percent in 2012 and hit 9.3 percent in 2013.


-- China's economic watchdog, the National Development & Reform Commission, will not issue railway transportation quotas for coal supply among provinces and encourage long-term supply contracts between coal producers and power plants next year, the paper reported, without citing sources.


-- Chinese film authorities are financially assisting cinemas and films to help the local industry cope better with stiff competition from Hollywood.


-- A commentary says China needs to speed up its campaign to fight against official corruption.


Fly on the Wall 7:00 AM Market Recap



ANADIGICS (ANAD) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Needham
Barclays (BCS) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Broadcom (BRCM) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Benchmark Co.
Eaton (ETN) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at Atlantic Equities
Exelon (EXC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Facebook (FB) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Bernstein
Imperial Oil (IMO) upgraded to Sector Performer from Sector Underperformer at CIBC
Knight Capital (KCG) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Keefe Bruyette
Lockheed Martin (LMT) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Bernstein
Mosaic (MOS) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities
Research in Motion (RIMM) upgraded to Sector Outperformer from Underperformer at CIBC
Yahoo! (YHOO) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman


Aeropostale (ARO) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital
Agrium (AGU) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Atlantic Equities
AkzoNobel (AKZOY) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup
Ball (BLL) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Chico's FAS (CHS) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital
Community Health (CYH) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
Crown Holdings (CCK) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Health Management (HMA) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
McDonald's (MCD) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Lazard Capital
Vanguard Health (VHS) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
VeriSign (VRSN) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at First Analysis
Wesco Aircraft (WAIR) downgraded to Underperform from Buy at BofA/Merrill


Apple (AAPL) initiated with a Buy at Citigroup
BP (BP) initiated with an Outperform at Exane BNP Paribas
Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) initiated with a Buy at UBS
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) initiated with an Underperform at Exane BNP Paribas
SanDisk (SNDK) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
Silicon Laboratories (SLAB) initiated with an Outperform at Pacific Crest
Smart Balance (SMBL) initiated with a Top Pick at RBC Capital
Zillow (Z) initiated with an Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley


comScore (SCOR) reported Black Friday e-commerce of $1.04B
CNH Global (CNH) and Fiat Industrial announced definitive merger agreement
L'Oreal (LRLCY) signed agreement to acquire Urban Decay
Zhongpin (HOGS) entered into merger agreement for ”going private”
Ranbaxy Laboratories (RBXLY) recalled some doses of atorvastatin, the generic Lipitor (PFE), the Wall Street Journal reports
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to increase stake in GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria
Gold Fields (GFI) reported unlawful strikes in South Africa disrupt production


Switzerland and the U.K. announced punitive measures against UBS (UBS) following the unauthorized trading scandal that led to losses of $2.3B at the bank. Swiss financial market regulator Finma said it will keep a close eye on UBS's investment bank for the foreseeable future and may ask it to raise fresh capital, while the U.K. Financial Services Authority fined UBS $47.6M, the Wall Street Journal reports
Flowers Foods (FLO) could be interested in Twinkies and other products owned by Hostess Brands, and is considered a likely bidder for some of the assets owned by Hostess, the Wall Street Journal reports
The euro zone finance ministers and the IMF will seek to unfreeze the second bailout package for Greece today, but first need to agree if some of the official loans might eventually be forgiven to cut Greek debt, Reuters reports
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has no plans to delist its Indian consumer products arm GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, said David Redfern, chief strategy officer, Reuters reports
Home equity lines of credit that fueled a spending spree during the boom are back. Following six years of declines, lending for so-called Helocs will increase 30% to $79.6B this year, the highest level since the start of the 2008 financial crisis, according to the economics research unit of Moody’s Corp. It projects a 31% jump to $104B next year,  Bloomberg reports
Nokia Siemens Networks (NOK, SI) is targeting the U.S. market where Chinese rivals face political hurdles and rising data use entices carriers to spend. The venture is forgoing less lucrative deals in Africa and the Middle East, said CEO Rajeev Suri, Bloomberg reports


Hain Celestial (HAIN) shares could lose premium multiple
Atlantic City losing out to neighboring casinos
PHH Corp. (PHH) shares can increase another 25%
RIM (RIMM), Nokia (NOK) rally can continue over next few months


Five Star Quality (FVE) files $942.5M mixed securities shelf
Supernus Pharmaceuticals (SUPN) files to sell 6M shares of common stock


Elliot Associates reports 9.96% stake in Emulex (ELX)
Glenview Capital reports 8.39% passive stake in Community Health (CYH)