Frontrunning: March 11

  • One in four Germans would back anti-euro party (Reuters)
  • EU Chiefs Seeking to Stave Off Euro Crisis Turn to Cyprus (BBG)
  • Ryan Says His Budget Would Slow Annual Spending Growth to 3.4% (BBG)
  • Goldman leads decline as Wall Street commodity revenues plummet (Reuters)
  • South Korea and US begin military drills (FT) and North Korea cuts off hotline with South Korea (Reuters)
  • Karzai Inflames U.S. Tensions  (WSJ)
  • Algorithms Get a Human Hand in Steering Web (NYT)
  • Meeting Is Set to Choose Pope (WSJ)
  • More U.S. Profits Parked Abroad, Saving on Taxes (WSJ)
  • Banks rush to redraft pay deals (FT)
  • Fugitive Fund Manager Stuffed Underwear With Cash, Fled (BBG)
  • Post-Newtown Gun Limits Agenda Narrows in U.S. Congress (BBG)
  • China Hints at Shift in One-Child Policy (WSJ)
  • China to merge maritime patrol units (FT)


Overnight Media Digest


* A Wall Street Journal investigation into asbestos trust claims and court cases of roughly 850,000 people filed since the late 1980s found many apparent anomalies.

* U.S. companies are keeping more of their profits offshore, a Wall Street Journal analysis of 60 big companies found. The moves shielded more than 40 percent of the companies' annual profits from U.S. taxes.

* As Comcast Corp nears completion of its $16.7 billion buyout of General Electric Co's stake in NBCUniversal, it faces a slowdown in what has long been the engine of the business: NBCU's cable channels.

* Figuring that the Federal Reserve won't be able to keep a lid on interest rates forever, large money managers such as BlackRock Inc, TCW Group Inc and Pacific Investment Management Co are getting ready for the day when rates take their first turn higher.

* Two publishing industry groups, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, are objecting to Inc's request for ownership of new top-level domain names which include ".book," ".author" and ".read" arguing that Amazon's control over such addresses would be a threat to competition.

* February's U.S. employment report was an unambiguously positive set of data, but it remains to be seen whether it signaled the start of a sustained period of healthier job growth.

* Once a booming source of bank profit, Wall Street's commodity trading has been hit hard by tougher new rules and subdued markets. Revenue from trading the likes of oil, metals and soybeans dropped 16 percent last year at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co and 20 percent at Morgan Stanley, according to securities filings.

* Dell Inc's proposed $24.4 billion buyout by its founder has shareholders on edge. And that anxiety is spreading to the computer maker's customers and others as well.

* The technology industry will be paying close attention to Samsung Electronics Co. this week when it lifts the curtains on a new high-end smartphone at an event in New York on Thursday. A lot is riding on the new device as Samsung aims to maintain its lead and boost profits in the increasingly crowded smartphone market.

* Economic indicators in the United States this week could determine whether the dollar's recent strength will prove sustainable. The greenback rose to its highest level against the yen in more than three years on Friday.



UK's banks may have to adhere to tougher leverage ratios than their global rivals. The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards has called for the government's proposed new banking legislation to be toughened.

European banks are racing to tweak executive pay deals by the end of the month to meet new EU bonus rules and secure shareholder backing at upcoming annual meetings. Private equity firms are highlighting huge sums of cash returned to investors even though the value of their portfolios has risen faster, boosted by trillions of assets that they are struggling to sell.

Spain's growing unease with the British Airways-Iberia merger is being watched closely at a time when the financial crisis has left the country's corporate sector more vulnerable to foreign takeovers.

AbbVie, the U.S. pharmaceuticals business spun off from Abbott Laboratories, has sought an injunction to block Europe's medicines regulator from releasing detailed data on its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug. The head of Austrian energy group OMV has warned that the European Union must arrive at a common position on shale gas or risk deindustrialisation that would put European companies at a competitive disadvantage to Asian and U.S. rivals. Three key executives that were behind the creation and sale of London-listed Cove Energy have come together again to raise funds to explore once more for oil and gas in waters off Mozambique.

A U.S. court has imposed an escalating series of fines on Turkey's biggest mobile operator Turkcell, controlled by the country's best known tycoons Mehmet Karamehmet.



* British lawmakers will warn in a report to be published on Monday that proposed legislation to protect Britain's financial services sector from future crises does not go far enough and may fail to stop banks from engaging in risky trading.

* Howard Stringer, who fought to bring a divided and struggling Sony Corp together as the company's first foreign president, is retiring as chairman in June.

* Former hedge fund manager Florian Homm, who spent five years in hiding, was arrested in Italy and faces extradition to America, where authorities have accused him of defrauding investors of at least $200 million.

* CreativeLive and other online companies have tapped into an audience of customers who are motivated to hone skills that might enhance their careers, and investors are noticing the profit potential.

* The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced on Friday that its general counsel, Dan Berkovitz, would soon depart the agency. His departure follows the agency's recent legal crackdown on Wall Street.

* With jobs slowly coming back, hopes are that ordinary Americans will finally feel the recovery that the nation's corporations have seen for some time.

* Stefan Kaluzny, who started the buyout firm Sycamore Partners just two years ago, has made a couple of splashy purchases, including the $600 million deal for the retail chain Hot Topic.




* The Parti Québécois government is bracing for a passionate debate on its proposed language policy as public hearings begin this week on a bill to reinforce the use of French in Quebec society.

* The contenders trailing Philippe Couillard in the race to replace Jean Charest as Quebec Liberal leader are grasping at the Ontario party's recent example for hope their race is not over. With Couillard firmly in the lead and, according to some reports, holding the support of around half of committed delegates, his two opponents are evoking Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's come-from-behind victory as they try to rally their troops for next weekend's leadership vote.

* As a number of transit systems move toward unstaffed trains, the Toronto Transit Commission is taking a half-step in that direction, laying the groundwork for largely hands-off operation on one of its two lines within a few years.

Reports in the business section:

* Mortgage brokers are pressing the federal government to make it easier for young people to buy their first homes, just as the spring sales season descends and Ottawa prepares its next budget.

* Canada Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has taken his battle against a housing bubble an extraordinary step further, issuing rare praise for the country's banks for not matching Bank of Montreal's cut-rate mortgages, which the lender rolled out a week ago in an attempt to drum up new business.

* One of Canada's most productive auto assembly plants is getting a C$250 million ($243 million) boost that likely solidifies about 3,000 jobs well into the 2020s. General Motors Co will invest that amount at its Cami Automotive factory in Ingersoll, Ontario, to respond more quickly to changing consumer tastes by building vehicles off more than one platform or basic underbody.


* Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper will travel to Yellowknife on Monday to mark the end of talks granting province-like powers to the Northwest Territories. Harper's office confirmed on Sunday that he will be present at the event, to be held at the territorial legislature.

* Toronto Mayor Rob Ford used his radio show on Sunday to hit back at a former election rival who accused him of inappropriate touching and lewd comments, telling his listeners the allegations were "not true" and questioning whether his accuser was "playing with a full deck."

* Most Canadians are in favor of restrictions on the number of qualified immigrants accepted into the country each year, a new poll suggests.


* Canada's see-sawing labor force swung back into job-creation mode in February, with a net 50,700 people finding work. Most of those new hires were aged 55 or older - continuing a trend from January.

* Americans living in Canada have already found themselves in the sights of the Internal Revenue Service, but a Canadian tax expert is warning that they should pay particular attention to their use of investment vehicles such as the Tax Free Savings Account.

* The recent surge in demand for air travel in Canada appears to be leaving Porter Airlines Inc behind, with traffic falling precipitously at the Toronto Island-based airline while its rivals consistently report record months of filling their planes.




-- Yang Maijun, Chairman of the Shanghai Futures Exchange, proposed to lay out legislation in the futures market to regulate and further develop the sector.

-- Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan residents living on the mainland will be allowed to open yuan-denominated A-share accounts in China from April 1, said Guo Shuqing, Chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commision.


-- Song Liping, the general manager of Shenzhen Stock Exchange, said they would firmly promote reform and strengthen regulations on initial public offerings.


-- The overhaul of the central government, which will see the railway and health ministries demoted, will cut red tape and increase efficiency.


-- Chinese government will continue to support railway construction and accelerate financing and pricing reforms, although the Railway Ministry will be coordinated under the broader Ministry of Transport.

Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



ArcelorMittal (MT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Aspen Insurance (AHL) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Banco Bilbao (BBVA) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Societe Generale
Barnes Group (B) upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc
Best Buy (BBY) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray
BioDelivery Sciences (BDSI) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray
CONSOL Energy (CNX) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
CTC Media (CTCM) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse
Citigroup (C) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Cloud Peak Energy (CLD) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Main Street (MAIN) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Masco (MAS) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Meritage Homes (MTH) upgraded to Strong Buy from Buy at ISI Group
NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna
Resolute Energy (REN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Wunderlich
Rovi (ROVI) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray
Smithfield Foods (SFD) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/Merrill
TransDigm (TDG) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank


Adobe (ADBE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
Altera (ALTR) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Credicorp (BAP) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
DaVita (DVA) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at SunTrust
Intuit (INTU) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
Manhattan Associates (MANH) downgraded to Market Perform at Raymond James
Mylan (MYL) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
NVIDIA (NVDA) downgraded to Negative from Neutral at Susquehanna
PPL Corp. (PPL) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Peabody Energy (BTU) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Walter Energy (WLT) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital


EMC (EMC) initiated with a Buy at Longbow
Fusion-io (FIO) initiated with a Neutral at Longbow
Insmed (INSM) initiated with an Outperform at Leerink
Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) initiated with a Buy at Cantor
Martin Midstream Partners (MMLP) resumed with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
NetApp (NTAP) initiated with a Neutral at Longbow
OCZ Technology (OCZ) initiated with a Neutral at Longbow
Seagate (STX) initiated with a Neutral at Longbow
Western Digital (WDC) initiated with a Neutral at Longbow


BP (BP) sees subdued global growth continuing in 2013
Eaton (ETN), Cummins (CMI) announced powertrain package for N.A. truck market
Nielsen (NLSN) disclosed receipt of FTC request for more information in Arbitron (ARB) deal
Publicis (PUBGY) acquired India-based Convonix
Chyron Corp. (CHYR) to acquire Hego Group


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Sunshine Heart (SSH), Renren (RENN)


U.S. companies are making record profits, and more of the money is staying offshore, and lightly taxed. A Wall Street Journal analysis of 60 big U.S. companies found that, together, they parked a total of $166B offshore last year
On Thursday, Samsung Electronic (SSNLF) will unveil a new high-end smartphone. A lot is riding on the new device as the company aims to maintain its lead and boost profits in the increasingly crowded smartphone market, the Wall Street Journal reports
Wall Street commodity revenues fell last year to their lowest on record, as tighter regulation and limited price swings squeezed the once dominant traders of Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS). All three reported double-digit percentage declines in revenues for oil, grains and copper trading in 2012, Reuters reports
In the  U.K. the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards said all banks should be forced to split routine retail operations from riskier investment activities if a single lender abuses new rules designed to protect taxpayers, Reuters reports
The sudden slowdown in U.S. inflation has left Treasuries at the cheapest levels in almost two years, aiding the Fed’s efforts to tamp down long-term borrowing costs while the economy improves. Yields on 10-year notes, the benchmark measure for everything from home loans to corporate bonds, reached an 11- month high of 2.08% on March 8, Bloomberg reports
Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) DePuy unit, which just lost a $8.3M verdict in the first trial over its recalled metal hip implant, now faces a second jury that will consider whether the design was defective, Bloomberg reports


TD Ameritrade (AMTD), Schwab (SCHW), E-Trade (ETFC) products positively reviewed
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBY) could rise 25% over the next year, could attract private-equity investors or possibly Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) if founders decide to sell
Railroads (CP, UNP, KSU, CSX, NSC) profiting from hauling overflow oil production
Live Nation (LYV) may have more upside
Icahn proposal could kill buyout, boost Dell's (DELL) value
Genworth Financial (GNW) undervalued
Skyworks (SWKS), Broadcom (BRCM), LSI (LSI), Cirrus (CRUS) look attractive


Cempra (CEMP) files $100M mixed securities shelf
Spark Networks (LOV) files $100M mixed securities shelf
Susquehanna (SUSQ) files automatic mixed securities shelf
ViaSat (VSAT) files automatic mixed securities shelf


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