Frontrunning: April 9

  • JPMorgan Leads Job Cuts as Banks Seek to Bolster Profit (BBG)
  • North Koreans don't show for work at Kaesong factory park (Reuters), as NK urges foreigners to leave South Korea (FT)
  • Lisbon Struggles to Close New Budget Gap (WSJ)
  • Portugal may face delay to bailout funds (FT)
  • Putin Squeezing Out UBS to Deutsche Bank Using Oligarchs (BBG)
  • China's Xi Says Fast Growth Over (WSJ)
  • Spain’s PM wants more powers for ECB (FT)
  • Bernanke Says Interest on Reserves Would Be Main Tightening Tool (BBG)
  • Bird Flu Claims 7th Victim in China (WSJ)
  • Texting While Flying Linked to Commercial Helicopter Crash (BBG)... No, Bernanke wasn't the pilot
  • Italy’s private sector to get cash boost as Italian government pays billions in arrears (FT)
  • KPMG fires LA audit partner over leak (FT)
  • Pianalto: Curbing asset buys could reduce risks (Reuters)


Overnight Media Digest


* Morgan Stanley plans to claw back some of the pay it owes a trader who pleaded guilty last week to a federal wire fraud charge for misleading his former employer, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, according to people familiar with the case.

* J.C. Penney Co Inc dumped Ron Johnson, the chief executive it poached from Apple Inc with great fanfare 17 months ago, replacing him midway through a major overhaul of its stores that has produced a disastrous drop in sales.

* Cerberus Capital Management LP, known for its purchase of Detroit auto maker Chrysler LLC during the financial crisis, wants to buy the dicey portions of securities tied to commercial mortgages, people familiar with the fund said.

* Several dozen Chinese, Asian and Western business leaders - including those from PepsiCo Inc and Volvo AB - sat down on Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping for what was billed as a roundtable discussion.

* China's year-to-year consumer inflation fell to 2.1 percent in March, a lower-than-expected result that suggests the threat of inflation in the world's No. 2 economy is ebbing.

* U.S. regulators are probing whether securities firms are circumventing rules implemented in the wake of the financial crisis to protect municipalities against potentially biased investment advice, according to people familiar with regulators' efforts.

* Alcoa Inc reported a 59 percent rise in net profit for the first quarter and said production cutbacks in China are reducing a glut of aluminum that has been weighing down prices of the metal.

* The TV industry's best hope of shutting down TV startup Aereo Inc could rest on a legal case involving something called Aereokiller LLC. Aereo, which streams broadcast-TV signals over the Web, has prompted major TV networks including CBS Corp and Walt Disney Co to sue.



MPs from all parties have called on Prime Minister David Cameron to step in and rid Sir James Crosby of his knighthood and part of his pension, after a scathing parliamentary report accused the former HBOS boss of presiding over a "massive failure". Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson will buy Microsoft's Mediaroom internet TV business, which makes software used by phone companies to deliver television over the Internet. The merger of two of Greece's biggest banks, National Bank of Greece and Eurobank, has been blocked by international lenders who fear the merged entity could create a giant lender with assets of close to 100 percent of national output.

Britain's biggest supermarket chain Tesco will count the cost of its failed U.S. venture as it reports a slump in full-year profits next week.

UnionBanCal, the San Francisco-based unit of Mitsubishi UFJ acquired a U.S. real estate loans business from Deutsche Bank, the latest in a series of acquisitions by the Japanese lender and a string of disposals by the German bank.

Brazil's struggling airline Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes SA announced an initial public offering of its air miles unit backed by private equity group General Atlantic in an attempt to prop up its finances.

Israel's richest man, Idan Ofer, is relocating to London in a move likely to spark debate over unfettered wealth and inequality in his country.



* The chief executives of the New York Stock Exchange , Nasdaq OMX Group Inc and BATS Global Markets Inc are joining forces for the first time to push regulators to rein in the increasing amount of trading that is moving off public exchanges and onto platforms like so-called dark pools.

* The biggest private equity buyout ever - the $45 billion deal for the Texas energy giant TXU in 2007 - has been steadily sliding toward becoming one of the biggest busts. Yet even as bankruptcy is acknowledged as a possibility, the company's private equity owners are trying to make sure they don't walk away empty-handed.

* KPMG said late Monday night it had fired a senior partner in its Los Angeles office after learning that he had provided inside information to an unnamed individual "who then used that information in stock trades involving several West Coast companies."

* The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed Mary Jo White as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, dismissing concerns about her close ties to the Wall Street banks she will now oversee.

* European antitrust regulators have received a formal complaint about Google Inc's Android operating system for mobile devices, even as they move to the final stages of their inquiry into the company's search practices.

* After a troublesome 17-month run, Ron Johnson is out as chief executive of J. C. Penney Co Inc, and with that, the most closely watched revival effort in retail in recent memory is in danger of disintegrating.

The company's board said on Monday that Johnson, who engineered Apple Inc's retail strategy, is leaving Penney and that Myron Ullman, who had been CEO at the retailer for seven years until Johnson took over, has returned to the helm.

* Jacob Lew, the U.S. Treasury secretary, on Monday urged European officials to ease its policies in order to help the continent and the global economy.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve's chairman, Ben Bernanke, said Monday night that the central bank's annual stress tests of major American banks showed that the banking industry had grown much healthier since the financial crisis.

* Alcoa Inc kicked off the earnings season on Monday by reporting a larger first-quarter profit - up 58 percent - than analysts had expected, helped by strong demand for aluminum used to make airplanes and automobiles.

* Aereo Inc, a streaming TV service, was cleared last week by a U.S. federal appeals court to stream programming it gets free from broadcasters. News Corp's Fox and other broadcasters are pondering their next move.




* Alberta and federal officials are pointing fingers at each other over the deportation of an Australian woman who drowned her two children.

On Monday, provincial Justice Minister Jonathan Denis disputed remarks from federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews that Alberta dropped the ball when it came to keeping Allyson McConnell in Canada pending appeals of her conviction and sentence for killing her children in 2010.

* A C$525,000 ($514,600) "bribe" for a Russian police officer allegedly came from an open safe full of cash in the Moscow offices of Toronto billionaire Alex Shnaider's company in July 2006, a former Russian oil executive told court on Monday.

Reports in the business section:

* Shaw Communications Inc said on Monday it has signed a deal to buy Enmax Envision Inc from Enmax Corp for C$225 million.

Envision runs one of Calgary's largest fibre-optic networks and specializes in providing large amounts of bandwidth to businesses that require a connection or connect multiple locations over private networks.


* Ontario politicians of all stripes said on Monday they were open to imposing new election spending limits following a huge increase in advertising by so-called third parties during the campaign for the Oct. 6, 2011 vote.

* Three Ottawa-area teenage girls befriended other teens on the Internet and then forced them to work as "escorts," a court was told on Monday.

The three accused teens recruited or attempted to recruit teenage girls from Ottawa through Facebook or other social media, Crown prosecutor Julien Lalonde told youth court on the opening day of what is expected to be a month-long trial.


* Porter Airlines is reportedly close to announcing an order for 12 C-Series aircraft, according to a report from Wall Street Journal reporter Jon Ostrower citing two unnamed sources.

* The maker of the birth-control pill Alysena 28 has issued an urgent recall after it was discovered that one lot of the contraceptive may have been incorrectly packaged with only two weeks of drug-containing tablets instead of three.

In a recall notice distributed by Health Canada, Apotex Inc said the product's 28-day blister packs should include 21 active birth-control pills plus seven placebo tablets that contain no drug.




- China needs to push its economic reforms aggressively in order to maintain stable growth, without falling into the trap of excess investment leading to excess capacity, the paper wrote in a front-page editorial.


- A front-page feature story says that Chinese commercial banks are moving swiftly to comply with new regulations, announced last month. The regulations ban the so-called "fund pool" business in which funds raised from the sale of wealth management products are fed into a common pool, rather than matched with a specific set of underlying assets.

- Even as the A-share market has fallen in recent weeks, A-share ETFs listed in Hong Kong through China's Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) program have rallied, narrowing the ETF's discount compared to its net asset value.


- Online bank transactions totaled 996 trillion yuan ($161 trillion) in 2012, jumping 26.7 percent, according to the results of a seasonal survey of the online banking conducted by Enfodes, a consultancy.


- Shanghai health officials are asking residents to tell if their neighbors are raising chickens or pigeons, in an effort to prevent the spread of bird flu.


- Six people were sentenced to 2.5 to 4 years in prison and fines between 10,000 to 20,000 yuan for selling "gutter oil" for cooking.

- Suzhou, in the east China's Jiangsu province, will raise natural gas prices by 12.7 percent.


Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



BB&T (BBT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Compass Point
CYS Investments (CYS) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Compass Point
Dominion (D) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities
Dot Hill Systems (HILL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Needham
Global Payments (GPN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Nomura
MAKO Surgical (MAKO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho
MV Oil Trust (MVO) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Raymond James
Primerica (PRI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Qlik Technologies (QLIK) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore


Abiomed (ABMD) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Alumina (AWC) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Bank of Hawaii (BOH) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Calamos (CLMS) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Concur (CNQR) downgraded to Underperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
Lufkin (LUFK) downgraded to Sell from Buy at Citigroup
Patterson Companies (PDCO) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Protective Life (PL) downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James
Protective Life (PL) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
St. Jude Medical (STJ) downgraded to Underperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital


CenturyLink (CTL) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Frontier Communications (FTR) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Heartland Payment (HPY) initiated with a Neutral at Nomura
Level 3 (LVLT) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Sarepta (SRPT) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
Stratasys (SSYS) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
Vantiv (VNTV) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
Windstream (WIN) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank


J.C. Penney (JCP) CEO Ron Johnson out; board named Myron Ullman, III CEO
Alcoa (AA) reaffirmed 2013 global aluminum demand growth forecast of 7%
Sees 9%-10% global growth in aerospace in 2013
“Committed” to being cash flow positive in 2013
FCC commissioner's report refuted Sprint (S) study on value of Clearwire (CLWR)
Mcrosoft (MSFT) to end support for Windows XP in April 2014
EADS (EADSY) bought back shares from Lagardere
CCA (CXW) board authorized special dividend of $675M or $6.63 per share
Ferro (FOE) raised Q1, FY13 guidance


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Alcoa (AA), AngioDynamics (ANGO)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Synergy Resources (SYRG), Mistras (MG)


  • The Fed’s annual "stress test" process has helped make the U.S. banking system stronger and more resilient than before the 2008 financial crisis. Stronger banks, in turn, have contributed to the economic recovery, said Fed Chairman Bernanke, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • Another pressure point for the yen is emerging: Some Japanese investors are retreating from the yen-denominated domestic government-bond market to find higher yields elsewhere. Many investors and analysts expect that selling to contribute to a further weakening of the yen, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • J.C. Penney’s (JCP) board is facing loud criticism from retail investors and corporate governance experts after ousting CEO Ron Johnson and replacing him with his own embattled predecessor, Myron Ullman, Reuters reports
  • Hutchison Whampoa (HUWHY) could be targeting a 29.9% stake in Telecom Italia (TI) as part of a deal that would give the Italian company Hutchison's local mobile business, Reuters reports
  • Microsoft’s (MSFT) after-sales service of its Surface tablet has attracted criticism from China’s state-owned radio, following similar reports in the past month targeting Apple (AAPL), Bloomberg reports
  • Volkswagen (VLKAY) said markets are becoming “more challenging” after posting a sales decline last month. “Markets are becoming more difficult,” said Christian Klingler, VW’s sales chief, Bloomberg reports.


Cousins Properties (CUZ) announces offering of 14M shares of common stock
Kite Realty Trust (KRG) announces 12.5M common share offering
Medley Capital (MCC) announces 4M share common stock offering
Starwood Property (STWD) announces offering 26.5M shares of common stock


SAC Capital reports 5.1% passive stake in Skechers (SKX)
Orbimed says 3SBio (SSRX) received $18-$20 per share offer, reports 9.44% stake


No comments yet! Be the first to add yours.