Frontrunning: December 10

  • Central Banks Ponder Going Beyond Inflation Mandates (BBG)
  • Bloomberg Weighs Making Bid for The Financial Times (NYT)
  • Hedge Funds Fall Out of Love with Equities (FT)
  • Obama and Boehner resume US fiscal cliff talks (FT)
  • Italy Front-Runner Vows Steady Hand (WSJ)
  • Spanish Bailout Caution Grows as Business Lobbies Back Rajoy (BBG)
  • Japan sinks into fresh recession (Reuters)
  • China economic recovery intact, but weak exports drag (Reuters)
  • Greece extends buyback offer to reach target (Reuters)  ... but on Friday they promised it was done
  • Basel Liquidity Rule May Be Watered Down Amid Crisis (BBG) ... just before they are scrapped
  • Irish, Greek Workers Seen Suffering Most in 2013 Amid EU Slump (BBG)
  • Riksbank Chief Sees Balancing Act (WSJ)
  • Obama heads to Michigan auto plant pressing case on fiscal cliff (Reuters)


Overnight Media Digest


* The European Union is expected soon to accuse multiple banks of attempted collusion in the setting of Euribor, according to people briefed on the probe.

Barclays Plc has already acknowledged trying to rig the rate, and other banks are likely to be pressed by regulators in the United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere into similar admissions, according to industry and regulatory officials.

* Hostess Brands Inc said it used wages that were supposed to help fund employee pensions for the company's operations as it sank toward bankruptcy.

* China posted weak foreign trade figures for November on Monday, showing that the country still faces external risks such as lower demand for Chinese goods, even as other data indicate that the country's growth has begun rebounding.

* An inspector general's report is bringing renewed scrutiny to the pay levels of hundreds of senior managers at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who earned more than $200,000 last year.

* Venezuela President Hugo Chavez asked his country for the first time to consider his successor as he announced a recurrence of his cancer and the need to fly to Cuba to undergo further surgery.

* Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves sees the twin risks of slowing economic growth and rising household debt as the chief challenges facing Sweden's central bank in the months ahead.

* Small banks in the United States are making a last-ditch attempt to persuade Congress to extend a crisis-era blanket guarantee on nearly $1.5 trillion in deposits before it expires at the end of the year.




US and UK regulators will unveil the first cross-border plans to deal with failing global banks on Monday.


A senior EU commissioner has insisted Britain can not simply pick and choose which European cross-border crimefighting powers it wants to adopt in the future.


An unexpected new proposal for international regulation of the Internet drew warnings over the weekend of a spread of online censorship.


Documents used as the basis for an investigation into alleged financial irregularity at miningcompanies part-owned by Bumi were stolen, hacked, doctored or all three.


Investors have fallen so far out of love with stocks that assets in fixed income hedge funds are poised to overtake those in equity trading strategies.


The UK and U.S. are taking radical steps to ensure they are protected if financial institutions from other countries fail in the future.


YPF of Argentina is in talks with Norway's Statoil about a potential partnership as part of its $37 billion push to develop the Latin American country's massive energy reserves.


De La Rue faces losing one of its most prestigious clients after the Bank of England launched a 1 billion pound tender for the future production of its banknotes.


Three global investment banks plan to move 3,000 City of London jobs to other UK cities and towns over the next few years.


The Philippines would strongly support a rearmed Japan shorn of its pacifist constitution as a counterweight to the growing military assertiveness of China.



* Michael Bloomberg is weighing the wisdom of buying The Financial Times Group, which includes the paper and a half interest in The Economist, according to three people close to Bloomberg who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

* The conglomerate Ingersoll-Rand Plc plans to announce a number of measures aimed in part at appeasing the activist investor Nelson Peltz, including a spinoff of its security business, people briefed on the matter said Sunday night.

* AIG Inc agreed on Sunday to sell up to 90 percent of its extensive airplane leasing unit to a group of Chinese investors in a deal that valued the business at about $5.28 billion.

* Wanxiang Group, a large Chinese auto parts maker, won a high-stakes auction on Sunday for assets of A123 Systems Inc , the bankrupt American battery maker that was a centerpiece of the Obama administration's loan program for electric vehicles.

* The Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce on Wednesday that it will continue buying Treasury securities to stimulate growth in the new year.

* The nation's largest banks are facing a fresh torrent of lawsuits asserting that they sold shoddy mortgage securities that imploded during the financial crisis, potentially adding significantly to the tens of billions of dollars the banks have already paid to settle other cases.

* Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports are tying their Web sites loosely together in an arrangement meant to give NBC more traffic online and Yahoo more promotion on television.




--China's fixed assets investment growth is expected to reach about 22 percent next year, and real estate investment growth may reach 15 percent, the State Information Center, a government think-tank, forecast.


--Dalian Commodity Exchange is expected to launch coking coal futures soon, the newspaper reported. The contract is awaiting approval from the State Council, China's cabinet.


--A monk and his nephew in Sichuan province in southwest China have been detained for encouraging Tibetan monks to immolate themselves.


--Beijing aims for rapid expansion of economic and technological development zones in the coming years, which means more than 500 billion yuan ($80.26 billion) of investment over the next three years.



* Anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela spent a second night in a military hospital Sunday as officials refused to say anything about his ailment or the medical tests he is undergoing.

Reports in the business section:

* The conservative government has focused relentlessly on resource development as key to Canada's economic prosperity, but with its new investment rules, Ottawa is risking slower growth in order to limit foreign-government control in the sector.

* Silvio Berlusconi's political ambush of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti's technocrat government has rattled the country's bond market, threatening to push the euro zone's third-largest economy back to the forefront of the debt crisis.


* The rising confidence and bellicosity of Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, combined with rapidly deteriorating relations with Israel's would be peace partner in the West Bank, are raising jitters in Israel that a new Palestinian uprising could be near.

* Egypt's opposition said Sunday it will keep up protests against a referendum on a disputed draft constitution but stopped short of advocating either a boycott or a "no" vote less than a week before the ballot.

* Public elementary school teachers in the York Region are expected to conduct a one-day walkout on Thursday as part of a revolving, province wide protest of the provincial government's controversial Bill 115, a piece of legislation that gives the Liberals power to dictate contractual terms between Ontario teachers and local school boards, and end any strike or lockout at will.


* Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he will toughen investment rules for foreign state owned companies after approving bids by CNOOC Ltd and Petroliam Nasional Bhd .


Fly on the Wall 7:00 am Market Snapshot



Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Anadarko (APC) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Carlisle (CSL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc
Cincinnati Financial (CINF) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Macquarie
CME Group (CME) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Comtech (CMTL) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Isle of Capri (ISLE) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse
MDU Resources (MDU) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Mobile Mini (MINI) upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc
Plexus (PLXS) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/Merrill
QR Energy (QRE) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Robert Half (RHI) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Swift Transportation (SWFT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Dahlman Rose
TripAdvisor (TRIP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Ultra Petroleum (UPL) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee
Webster Financial (WBS) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank


Apache (APA) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Fibria Celulose (FBR) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup
GrafTech (GTI) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
McGraw-Hill (MHP) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Lazard Capital
Noble Energy (NBL) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee
Omnicom (OMC) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Publicis (PUBGY) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Deutsche Bank
SM Energy (SM) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
U.S. Steel (X) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Longbow
WPP PLC (WPPGY) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank


Best Buy (BBY) initiated with an Underperform at BofA/Merrill
Duke Energy (DUK) initiated with an Overweight at Morgan Stanley
Lufkin (LUFK) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Nexstar (NXST) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Quanta Services (PWR) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Teradyne (TER) initiated with a Buy at Needham


Canada approved proposed acquisition of Nexen (NXY) by CNOOC (CEO)
AIG (AIG) announced agreement to sell up to 90% of ILFC
comScore (SCOR): U.S. online holiday spending up 13% for first 37 days of shopping season
GM's (GM) Opel to end car production in Bochum in 2016
Yahoo (YHOO) and NBC Sports Group (CMCSA) announced content/promotional deal
Ericsson (ERIC) began negotiations with STMicroelectronics (STM) on ownership of ST-Ericsson
Elbit Imaging (EMITF) announced the closing of GE's (GE) investment in InSightec
NOOK Media (BKS) announced NOOK Simple Touch available for $79
Roche (RHHBY) filing triggered $4M milestone payment to Halozyme (HALO)
Altair Nanotechnologies (ALTI) announced 1-for-6 reverse stock split
Cohu (COHU) to acquire Imesca Semiconductor for $54.5M cash


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Diamond Foods (DMND)


U.S. consumer spending is showing signs of weakening as a number of factors, from high unemployment to the prospect of increased taxes, are threatening to sap consumers' spending power at a time when other sectors of the economy are likely too weak help, the Wall Street Journal reports
The euro interbank offered rate is facing mounting attacks, and the EU is expected to soon accuse multiple banks of attempted collusion in the setting of Euribor, sources say, the Wall Street Journal reports
Legend Holdings, parent company of PC Lenovo Group (LNVGY), plans to list in China's A-share market sometime between 2014 and 2016, the firm's chairman says, according to China Business, Reuters reports
With talk of the U.S. economy going over the "fiscal cliff," investors' collective shrug marks a stark change from how they had behaved in the two weeks after the presidential election, when the looming budget crisis caused wild swings in stock prices. The S&P 500 index has nearly retraced the 5.3% slide it suffered in the first seven sessions after the vote. Some of the rebound reflects market confidence that a short-term deal will be reached, or that investors realize they are looking at a gentle slope instead, Reuters reports
Google (GOOG) avoided about $2B in worldwide income taxes in 2011 by shifting $9.8 in revenues into a Bermuda shell company, nearly double the total from three years before, filings show, Bloomberg reports.


Apple (AAPL), Shell (RDS.A), JPMorgan (JPM), and others are sound investments in 2013
PC stocks rally may be short-lived (HPQ, DELL, INTC, AAPL, GOOG, MSFT)
Google Fiber (GOOG) could devastate phone, Internet, cable providers
Crosstex Energy (XTEX, XTXI) could be smart for play on rising cash flows
Men's Wearhouse (MW) could be dressed for success in 2013


CorEnergy Infrastructure Trust (CORR) files to sell 18.5M shares of common stock
NeoStem (NBS) files to sell 2.3M shares of common stock for holders
Watsco (WSO) files automatic common stock offering