Frontrunning: April 16

  • Investigators hunt for clues in marathon bombing (Reuters)
  • Investigators scour video, photos for Boston Marathon bomb clues (Reuters)
  • 'Act of Terror' Kills at Least Three, Injures About 140 as Bombs Wreak Carnage on Marathon Crowd (WSJ)
  • Brent Crude Below $100 (WSJ)
  • Slower China Growth Signals Days of Miracles Are Waning (WSJ)
  • Central Banks at Ease Limit Risk Political Backlash (BBG)
  • Merkel plans to quit midterm, says author (FT)
  • Monte Paschi Prosecutors Seize $2.3 Billion of Nomura Assets (Businessweek)
  • Treasuries back on investors’ buy lists (FT)
  • J.C. Penney Said to Seek Ways to Separate Real Estate for Cash (BBG)
  • Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown (Reuters)
  • Putin Calls for Stimulus Plan After Recession Alarm (BBG)
  • TIPS in Longest Selloff Since ’08 as U.S. Bancorp Cuts (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* Satellite-TV provider Dish Network Corp made a $25.5 billion bid for Sprint Nextel Corp, an effort to derail the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier's acquisition by Japan's SoftBank, kicking off an old-fashioned merger brawl that puts two maverick billionaires on a collision course.

* Gold posted its biggest one-day percentage drop in 30 years Monday as new signs of a global economic slowdown emerged and fears diminished that central banks' easy-money policies would stoke inflation.

* Energy Future Holdings Corp, the struggling Texas power company formerly called TXU Corp, on Monday revealed plans for a potential bankruptcy filing that would eliminate about $32 billion in debt and preserve some of the ownership stakes of its biggest investors.

* Recent pipeline ruptures, including one at an Exxon Mobil Corp pipeline that caused a major oil spill in Arkansas last month, are raising fresh questions about the safety of pipes made decades ago using obsolete welding techniques.

* Citigroup Inc escaped the mortgage slowdown affecting some rivals thanks to its smaller presence in the U.S. market for home loans and a newfound zeal for keeping a lid on expenses. The third-largest U.S. bank by assets said Monday that its first-quarter net income rose 30 percent to $3.81 billion.

* Cash-strapped J.C. Penney Co Inc drew $850 million from a credit line to help fund its day-to-day operations, buying time for new chief executive Myron "Mike" Ullman to reverse sagging sales at the department store operator while it looks for ways to raise additional capital.

* The Securities and Exchange Commission leveled civil charges against former Rochdale Securities LLC trader David Miller, who last year also was charged with wire fraud for alleged unauthorized trades in Apple Inc shares.

* Foxconn Technology Group has resumed hiring assembly line workers in China after a postholiday freeze, in the latest sign that customer Apple Inc is gearing up for production of a new iPhone. Foxconn is the trade name for Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.

* The Ugandan government and three international oil companies, Tullow Oil Plc, Total SA and Cnooc Ltd, have agreed to build an export pipeline and refinery in the east African country, ending a deadlock that has delayed the development of large oil discoveries on its western border for almost two years.

* Baseball team the Chicago Cubs on Monday announced an agreement with the city for a $500 million privately financed renovation of historic Wrigley Field, but property owners who offer fans a view of the action from neighboring rooftops are threatening to throw a monkey wrench into the plans.



Overview Dish Network the No. 2 U.S. satellite television provider, launched a bold $25.5 billion offer to buy Sprint Nextel Corp, a move that could thwart the proposed acquisition of Sprint by Japan's SoftBank

Gold suffered its sharpest fall since the 1980s, sparking fears among investors that the precious metal's decade-long bull run has ended.

U.S. investment firm Royalty Pharma sweetened its bid for Irish drugmaker Elan Corp, on Monday, offering worth as much as $12 per share for the developer of multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri.

The British arm of French insurance group AXA said it would stop offering face-to-face financial advice across bank branches this year. A group that represents local pension funds in Britain is recommending that its members vote against the pay package of AstraZeneca's new chief executive.

France's Socialist government contains eight millionaires, a list of ministers' personal assets showed on Monday. Global commodities trader Trafigura handed about $1.6 billion to its senior employees in the past three years by buying back their shares, according to financial statements revealed in a bond prospectus.


* Dish Network Corp said on Monday that it had submitted a $25.5 billion bid for Sprint Nextel Corp, the third-largest wireless carrier in the United States, saying a merger between the two companies could roll television, high-speed Internet and cellphone services into a single package.

* The trustee seeking money for victims of Belinkrnard Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme was barred on Monday from blocking a $410 million settlement resolving New York State's claims against a hedge fund manager, J. Ezra Merkin, who was accused of secretly steering client money to Madoff.

* AMR Corp, the parent company of American Airlines, filed its formal plans to exit bankruptcy late Monday, bringing its proposed $11 billion merger with the US Airways Group Inc closer to reality.

* Energy Future Holdings Corp, the Texas energy giant that was taken private in 2007 in a record-breaking $45 billion buyout, disclosed Monday a potential bankruptcy plan to its creditors.

* Gold prices tumbled 9 percent on Monday, the sharpest drop in 30 years, heightening fears that investors' faith in the safe haven has been shattered. The steep fall in gold, after a slump on Friday, led a broader sell-off in commodities and stock markets.

* Big pharmaceutical companies have used an array of tactics aimed at preventing generic manufacturers from developing low-cost copies of their drugs. But federal regulators contend the latest strategy - which relies on a creative interpretation of drug safety laws - is illegal.

* The government of India, home to many of the world's leading software outsourcing companies, wants to replicate that success by creating a homegrown industry for computer hardware.



* Canadian security officials are closely monitoring the situation in Boston for any potential threats to the country after two explosions struck the Boston Marathon.

The Canada Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are "exercising increased vigilance at points of entry into Canada," according to a spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

* Alison Redford is facing internal strife over her ability to lead the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party, less than a year after winning a commanding majority government in a hard-fought election against the Wildrose Party.

Reports in the business section:

* A battle for depositors is quietly unfolding in the financial sector, led by President's Choice Financial, which is introducing what it calls "aggressive" interest rates on savings accounts. The discount bank, a partnership between Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and grocer Loblaw Co Ltd , is offering 2.6 percent interest on all new deposits in a bid to lure clients away from rivals.

* The Competition Bureau has lost a high-profile attempt to force the Toronto Real Estate Board to make it easier for web-based real estate brokerages to compete, a case that was being closely watched across the country.


* A Canadian who traveled to Somalia in 2009 to join the armed Islamist group, Al Shabab, died in a suicide attack in the capital Mogadishu on the weekend, a community source familiar with the case said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it was looking into whether a Canadian was involved in the deadly attack on the Mogadishu courts. If confirmed, Mahad Ali Dhore, would be the second member of the so-called "Somali Six" known to have died.

* Michele Lahey, a former Alberta health executive has been accused of spending taxpayer money on medical expenses at the renowned private Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Alberta's opposition Wildrose Party released expense receipts from Edmonton Capital Health executive vice-president and chief executive officer Lahey.


* Suncor Energy Inc is shedding its conventional natural gas assets in a C$1 billion ($979.19 million) deal with Qatar Petroleum International and Centrica Plc, freeing up cash for a potential dividend increase and or capital projects that could include adding a heavy oil processing unit to its refinery in Montreal.

* Bombardier Transportation said it has signed a $199 million contract with the State of Florida Department of Transportation for operations and maintenance services. The contract covers operations, dispatching, fleet maintenance, track maintenance, customer service, station platform and facility maintenance, and material supply for the Central Florida Commuter Rail Transit project.




- China will launch new financial futures products soon, including treasury bond futures and stock index options, said the China Financial Futures Exchange.


- Sustained income growth for Chinese residents will be a challenge given declining growth in China's economy, said Sheng Laiyun, spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics of China.


- The number of Chinese dollar millionaires grew 4 percent to 2.8 million by the end of 2012, but the growth in their numbers is slowing. Another 100,000 people joined the ranks of high net worth of more than 6 million yuan ($969,800), the report said.

- Art is the most popular form of alternative investments by the Chinese super rich, followed by jewellery, jade, fine wine and watches, according to the annual Chinese Passion Investments White Paper.

- Losses to poultry related enterprise nationwide have exceeded 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) since the first case of H7N9 bird flu was discovered, according to the National Poultry Industry Association.


- The South-to-North water diversion project intended to help alleviate water supply problems in northern China is proceeding well and has received investment of more than 200 billion yuan, according to the project construction committee.



Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



DCT Industrial (DCT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
DreamWorks (DWA) upgraded to Buy from Sell at B. Riley Caris
Duke Energy (DUK) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Old Dominion (ODFL) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Microsoft (MSFT) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Owens Corning (OC) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Pinnacle Financial (PNFP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Wunderlich
Pioneer Natural (PXD) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Canaccord
Sprint (S) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Thermo Fisher (TMO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho


C.H. Robinson (CHRW) downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Keynote Systems (KEYN) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Evercore
Mack-Cali Realty (CLI) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Niska Gas (NKA) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup
PAA Natural Gas Storage (PNG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Rose Rock Midstream (RRMS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Sarepta (SRPT) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Leerink
Sarepta (SRPT) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital
Spectra Energy Partners (SEP) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Strayer Education (STRA) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at First Analysis
Sunoco Logistics (SXL) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
TC PipeLines (TCP) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup
Ventas (VTR) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup


Aviv REIT (AVIV) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Costco (COST) initiated with a Buy at UBS
Five Oaks (OAKS) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
Five Oaks (OAKS) initiated with an Outperform at Keefe Bruyette
Halcon Resources (HK) initiated with an Outperform at Raymond James
Marin Software (MRIN) initiated with a Buy at Goldman
Marin Software (MRIN) initiated with a Buy at UBS
MarineMax (HZO) initiated with a Buy at SunTrust
Stericycle (SRCL) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Target (TGT) initiated with a Neutral at UBS
Wal-Mart (WMT) initiated with a Buy at UBS


Implant Sciences (IMSC), ASEI (ASEI) shares rallied after Boston Marathon explosions
Transocean (RIG) said Icahn agenda misguided
S&P revised outlook on Toyota (TM) to stable, affirmed ratings
Comerica (CMA) sees FY13 continued growth in average loans at slower pace
Netgear (NTGR) lowered Q1 guidance
Timken (TKR) urged holders to vote against proposal to spin off steel business
DeVry (DV) disclosed subpoena from Illinois, investigative demand from Massachusetts
LDK Solar (LDK) said not able to make full payments on senior notes
Sarepta (SRPT) said FDA will consider accelerated approval for Eteplirsen


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Comerica (CMA), BlackRock (BLK), Wolverine World Wide (WWW), Mercantile Bank (MBWM), Pinnacle Financial (PNFP), Brown & Brown (BRO)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Pep Boys (PBY), Stanley Furniture (STLY), Joe's Jeans (JOEZ)


  • For China, the days of miracles appear to be over in the world's second largest economy. A cleanup is underway, following an economic party of epic proportions that lifted incomes but left behind debt, corruption and a mess of the environment, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • The era of the "imperial chief executive," a domineering figure who ruled the company (JPM, GS, C, BAC) as if it was his own has ended. The next few weeks will offer a glimpse of what is next: a corporate world in which CEOs are more executives and less chiefs, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • Masayoshi Son, billionaire founder of Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank Corp. (SFTBF), is expected to stay in the fight for Sprint Nextel (S), even though he could walk away with over $3.5B in gains from currency hedging, a convertible bond and break-up fee, Reuters reports
  • Gold regained ground after its biggest fall on record and oil steadied after falling below $100 a barrel for the first time in nine months today, but investors stayed concerned about the health of the global economy, Reuters reports
  • Regulators will seek to eliminate conflicts that have led to manipulation of benchmark lending rates while investigations into Libor continue. A panel led by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority will issue a report as soon as today with draft recommendations on how rates should be set and what oversight regulators should have, Bloomberg reports
  • AMR Corp. (AAMRQ), parent of American Airlines, filed a plan to exit bankruptcy protection that hinges on creating the world’s largest airline through a merger with US Airways Group (LCC), Bloomberg reports


Cache (CACH) files to sell 4.85M shares of common stock for holders
ChemoCentryx (CCXI) commences offering of $60M of common stock
Discovery Labs (DSCO) files to sell 2.34M shares of common stock for holders
Preferred Apartment (APTS) files to sell 5.72M shares of common stock for holders


Lone Pine Capital reports 5.01% passive stake in lululemon (LULU)
Gabelli reports 5.09% stake in Mueller Industries (MLI)


No comments yet! Be the first to add yours.