Frontrunning: December 3

  • Union solidarity rubs up against slow economy in LA port strike (Reuters)
  • Geithner predicts Republicans will allow higher tax rates (Reuters). And "no risk" of a US downgrade, "no risk"
  • Geithner takes hard line on fiscal cliff (FT)
  • Narrowing LDP lead points to Japan post-election confusion (Reuters) - not to mention, USDJPY plunges if LDP loses
  • Vietnam Says China Must Avoid Trade Weapon in Maritime Spat (Bloomberg)...  and real one, one hopes
  • Greece unveils bond buyback plan (FT)
  • ECB Can’t Deliver Spain Spread Rajoy Wants, Wellink Says (Bloomberg)
  • UK’s euro trade supremacy under attack (FT)
  • Merkel Signals Debt Write-Off Possible as Buyback Begins (Bloomberg)
  • ECB's Noyer Says Bond-Buying Plan 'Is Bearing Fruit' (WSJ) - as long as just plan, and not execution.
  • India Increases Foreign Investment Limit for Bonds (WSJ)
  • Osborne Says He Needs More Time to Rid U.K. of Budget Deficit (Bloomberg)
  • Posen Sees BOE Putting QE on Hold ‘Indefinitely’ (Bloomberg) Or at least until Carney has a say on it
  • Philippines Faces Fiercest Storm a Year After Deadly Cyclone (Bloomberg)


Overnight Media Digest


Delta Air Lines Inc has approached Singapore Airlines Ltd to discuss buying its 49 percent stake in British carrier Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd, three people familiar with the situation said on Sunday. The Asian carrier has considered selling its stake in Virgin over the past five years and has held talks in the past with several airlines, including Delta.

* State regulators on Sunday approved new rules for how U.S. life insurers set reserves for future claims, a decision that may free up billions of dollars to help boost the industry's flagging returns.

* SAC Capital Advisors LP, the giant hedge-fund firm allegedly involved in what the government has described as the biggest insider-trading case it has ever made, has less than three months to convince investors to stick with the money manager.

* Embattled BP Plc will fete its investors on Monday - and many hope that fresh details about its plans as a smaller, more focused company will outshine last week's negative headlines.

* Cerberus Capital Management LP, working on an acquisition of Supervalu Inc, has indicated it is willing to pursue multiple options for the troubled grocer, including a deal to buy Supervalu's entire business and another to purchase its Albertsons stores, a person familiar with the matter said.

* After years of meteoric growth in China, Yum Brands Inc - the U.S. company that owns Pizza Hut and KFC - is starting to stumble in its single biggest market, as intense competition and fast-food fatigue cause Chinese consumers to lose their appetite for fried chicken and pizza.

* The White House and congressional Republicans remained at loggerheads - in both public and private - over how to design a deficit-reduction package, with just a few weeks remaining before the nation hits the fiscal cliff.

* A recent bidding war between Reckitt Benckiser and Bayer AG for vitamin maker Schiff Nutrition International Inc could be a taste of things to come, as consumer-products companies and drug makers jostle to grab a slice of a growing market for vitamins and health supplements.




London should be deposed as the euro's main financial centre so the euro zone can "control" most financial business in the region, France's central bank governor told the FT.


UK Finance Minister George Osborne has promised a new tax squeeze on the rich and a further reduction in welfare spending, ahead of next week's Autumn Statement.


The CEO of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi has underlined the risk facing Japanese banks from their vast holdings of government bonds and said that the bank would struggle to reduce its exposure.


The family of former prime minister George Papandreou has denied newspaper reports that his 89-year-old mother was the beneficial owner of a 550 million euro Swiss account.


UK Prime Minister David Cameron will this week urge newspaper editors to create a powerful independent press regulator, amid pressure for him to introduce a press law.


Delta Air Lines is in talks to buy Singapore Airlines' 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic, said three people familiar with the matter.


Tom Mockridge has resigned as CEO of News Corp's UK newspaper arm, people familiar with his decision said, after not being chosen to lead the publishing company News Corp is expected to spin off.


Telefónica is working on plans to list 10-15 percent of its Latin American operations in an attempt to show that markets have undervalued the indebted Spanish telecoms group.


Trade unions have denounced the last-minute deal struck between France's government and ArcelorMittal over the future of one of the steelmaker's French plants.



 Swiss banking giant UBS is close to reaching settlements with American and British authorities over the manipulation of interest rates, the latest case in a multi-year investigation that has rattled the financial industry and spurred a public outcry for broad reform.

* Glenn Hadden, who is now head of the global interest rates desk at Morgan Stanley, is under investigation over his trading in Treasury futures while at Goldman, according to a regulatory filing.

* Delta Air Lines is in talks to buy Singapore Airlines' 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways, in an effort to bolster its international operations, particularly flights between New York and London.

* Tom Mockridge, a longtime News Corp official who served as chief executive of the company's British newspapers in the aftermath of a phone hacking scandal, will step down. Mockridge announced on Sunday that he would leave his post at the end of year. The day before, reports emerged that Robert Thomson, currently the top editor at the Wall Street Journal, was expected to be named chief executive of News Corp's planned spinoff publishing company.

* The board of European Aeronautic Defense & Space, the parent company of Airbus, was expected on Monday to announce a significant restructuring of its core shareholder base that would give the German government a direct stake in the group equal to that of France.

* Euro zone finance ministers will gather in Brussels on Monday for their fourth meeting in four weeks. Last week they hashed out a plan by which Greece can try to unlock a long overdue bailout loan installment. The country needs the money desperately to avoid bankruptcy, to pay wages and pensions and to carry out economic changes demanded by its international creditors.

* Uber - a car-hiring services company, which is being sued by San Francisco cabdrivers and Chicago car services over its hire-a-car smartphone app, says the laws holding it back are anticompetitive. And it has plenty of fans




* Ontario elementary school teachers began on Sunday to cast electronic ballots on whether to hold one-day walkouts, the next step in their confrontation with the government over imposing the terms of their contracts.

* Within hours of the rebel withdrawal from Goma, armed men were attacking a refugee camp near the city. The new violence, along with another reported attack on Rwanda by a militia group near Goma, was a reminder that eastern Congo remains a powder keg of unresolved conflicts and heavily armed factions, despite the much-touted pullout from Goma by the M23 rebels on Saturday.

Reports in the business section:

* Roam Mobility Inc is setting its sights on a rapidly growing market: U.S. consumers who want temporary, easily disposed cellphone numbers.

The Vancouver-based mobile upstart, says its product, called Ready SIM, allows consumers to purchase a product anonymously and begin using its prepaid talk, text and data plans just minutes after purchase since the process does not require any paperwork or dealer assistance.


* The U.S. treasury secretary fired a warning shot on Sunday, alerting Americans that Republicans will push the country off the so-called fiscal cliff -- and into a potential recession with global consequences -- if they don't agree to tax increases for the wealthiest two per cent of citizens.


* Accused of fraud, former SNC Lavalin Group Inc chief executive Pierre Duhaime left the company with a retirement payout potentially worth C$13.2 million ($13.29 million) including stock options. And the engineering giant has no way other than suing him to try to get the money back.


Fly on the Wall 7:00 am Market Snapshot



Agrium (AGU) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray
Boston Scientific (BSX) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at JMP Securities
CSC (CSC) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Cowen
CubeSmart (CUBE) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Deckers Outdoor (DECK) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee
Dell (DELL) upgraded to Buy from Sell at Goldman
Duke Energy (DUK) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Eaton Vance (EV) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
Ericsson (ERIC) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Finisar (FNSR) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Needham
International Game (IGT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
NiSource (NI) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Total (TOT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Williams-Sonoma (WSM) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley


Bankrate (RATE) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
Bankrate (RATE) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
CF Industries (CF) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Cinemark (CNK) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Emulex (ELX) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Health Management (HMA) downgraded to Sell from Fair Value at CRT Capital
J.M. Smucker (SJM) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Stephens
Janus Capital (JNS) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Kenexa (KNXA) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities
Myriad Genetics (MYGN) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Mizuho
Occidental Petroleum (OXY) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
QLogic (QLGC) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Regal Entertainment (RGC) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Teva (TEVA) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS


AT&T (T) initiated with an Equal Weight at Evercore
OFS Capital (OFS) initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
Santander Mexico (BSMX) initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
lululemon (LULU) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord


FedEx Ground (FDX) to increase 2013 rates by a net average of 4.9% effective January 7
Tempur-Pedic (TPX), Sealy (ZZ) received Hart-Scott-Rodino request
Carlyle Group (CG) acquisition of TCW not likely to be blocked, judge says, Bloomberg reports
AMR Corp. (AAMRQ) estimated $40M negative impact on October revenue from Sandy
Myriad Genetics (MGN): Supreme Court to hear isolated DNA patent case
Exelon's (EXC) Nine Mile Point 1 reactor closed for repairs on turbine system, Bloomberg reports
MGIC Investment (MTG) subsidiary satisfied all conditions to Freddie Mac
Canadian Pacific (CP) reached tentative agreement with CPPA
EADS (EADSY) said shareholders discussing possible changes in shareholding structure
Vornado's (VNO) 32.4% affiliate Alexander's (ALX) completed sale of Kings Plaza Mall, Brooklyn, NY for $751M
Vornado to receive $202M dividend from Alexander's; declared special dividend
Sims Metal (SMS) sold scrap metal recycling assets in Arizona
JoS. A. Bank (JOSB) expects to open additional 200 stores as part of long-term plan


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
LDK Solar (LDK)


Exporting the U.S. shale energy revolution overseas is giving the U.S. a significant competitive advantage. While there are huge shale deposits outside of North America, oil companies are running into obstacles as they try to replicate the U.S. experience on other continents. The result is that significant overseas shale energy production could be a decade away, the Wall Street Journal reports
Three major ad firms, WPP (WPPGY), Publicis Groupe (PUBGY) and Interpublic Group (IPG), are revising down their projections for 2013 global ad spending growth, citing economic troubles in Europe and lackluster conditions in the U.S., among other factors, the Wall Street Journal reports
Wall Street banks, including Morgan Stanley (MS) and Goldman Sachs (GS), are looking to help offshore clients sidestep new U.S. rules designed to safeguard the world's $640T over-the-counter derivatives market, taking advantage of an exemption that risks undermining U.S. regulators' efforts, Reuters reports
The U.K.’s Public Accounts Committee called on the government to crack down on multinational companies that make substantial sales in Britain but pay little tax there, Reuters reports
China may maintain its annual economic growth target at 7.5% next year in a sign the new leadership headed by Xi Jinping won’t tolerate a bigger slowdown from the lowest goal since 2004, Bloomberg reports
Hedge funds increased bullish bets on commodities by the most since August as evidence that China is accelerating outweighed concern that U.S. lawmakers have yet to resolve an impasse over automatic spending cuts and tax rises, Bloomberg reports


Transocean (RIG) stock could be a bargain
VeriSign's (VRSN) registry contract good for stock despite sell-off
Online brokers (ETFC, AMTD, SCHW) retreating overseas amidst trading volume decline
Liberty Media's (LMCA) Starz spinoff could unlock value
Despite Chinese Internet stocks' (BIDU, SINA) upside, caution advised


FuelCell (FCEL) files to sell 20M shares of common stock for holders
Kips Bay Medical (KIPS) files to sell 15M shares of common stock
MGT Capital (MGT) files to sell 4.14M shares of common stock for holders
Vantiv (VNTV) files to sell 10.55M shares of Class A common stock for holders


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