Frontrunning: April 26

  • Reinhart and Rogoff: Responding to Our Critics (NYT)
  • Differences with centre-right delay Italy's Letta (Reuters)
  • Italy's Letta moves forward to shape government (Reuters)
  • China’s leaders warn on financial risks (FT)
  • Norway oil fund makes big move from bonds to stocks (FT) - worked wonders for the Bank of Israel
  • Smuggling milk is the new smuggling heroin in HK: Milk Smugglers Top Heroin Courier Arrests in Hong Kong (BBG)
  • RenTec's mean reversion models fail on BOJ lunacy: Yen Bets Don't Add Up for a Fund Giant (WSJ)
  • From 'Fabulous Fab' to Grad Student (WSJ)
  • BOJ in credibility test as divisions emerge over inflation target (Reuters)
  • Boston Bombing Suspect Moved from hospital to prison (WSJ)
  • Provopoulos Says ECB May Never Need to Use Bond-Buying Program (BBG) which is good because, legally, it doesn't exist
  • Cypriot Bank Deposits Fell in March Amid Bailout Negotiations (BBG)... and then were halted by Capital Controls
  • Senate acts to end days of flight delays (FT)
  • CBOE Preaches to Vegas Choir as ‘Glitch’ Crashes Exchange (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* Late Thursday afternoon, in a 63-to-30 procedural vote, the Senate cleared the way for passage of a bill to effectively end tax-free shopping online. A final Senate vote is scheduled for May 6.

* Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc on Thursday said it would roll out its own version of e-cigarettes in the second half of 2013 amid signs the battery-powered devices - which convert heated, nicotine-laced liquid into vapor - are beginning to erode sales of traditional cigarettes in the United States, less than a decade after surfacing.

* European Union regulators have given Google Inc's competitors and other interested parties a month to respond to the search engine's proposals to address concerns that it is abusing its dominance in Internet search.

* Japan's transport ministry Friday said it is planning to lift the order grounding flights of Boeing Co 787 Dreamliners by Japanese airlines, following a formal decision by its U.S. counterpart to do the same.

* Exxon Mobil Corp's first-quarter profit rose slightly compared to last year but its production of oil and natural gas fell, as the energy giant continued to struggle in a world where large oil-and-gas fields are harder to find.

* Industrial conglomerate 3M Co, joining a host of U.S. companies downgrading expectations for the year, reduced its forecast for 2013 earnings on Thursday but said it would proceed with plans to increase spending on new factories and research.

* Financier George Soros has bought a 7.91 percent stake in J C Penney Co, a vote of confidence in the beleaguered retailer as it tries to reverse a deep decline in sales.



The Serious Fraud Office has begun a criminal investigation into Eurasian Natural Resources Corp, the miner which had also recently faced scrutiny from two internal investigations into allegations of fraud in Kazakhstan and Africa.

After it was announced that the UK had avoided a triple-dip recession, Finance Minister George Osborne said the economy was "healing", having grown 0.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

UK Financial Investments Chief Executive Jim O'Neil resigned, casting further doubt over how quickly the UK will be able to reprivatise its bailed-out banks.

Verizon Communications is considering offering Vodafone $100 billion in cash and stock for its minority stake in Verizon Wireless as pressure from the U.S. mounts to negotiate a deal.

U.S. regulators, including the Federal Reserve and Treasury, have called for alternative interest rate benchmarks to replace the scandal-hit Libor interbank borrowing rate.'s first-quarter net income declined 37 percent to $82 million despite its gross profit margin increasing during the period.



* With the cost of some lifesaving cancer drugs exceeding $100,000 a year, more than 100 influential cancer specialists from around the world have taken the unusual step of banding together in hopes of persuading some leading pharmaceutical companies to bring prices down.

* Samsung Electronics Co said its first-quarter net income jumped 42 percent from a year earlier to a record high thanks to robust smartphone sales even during a typically slow season for the electronics market.

* Federal regulators on Thursday admonished some of the nation's largest banks for offering payday-style loans, short-term costly credit tied to customers' checking accounts.

* George Soros, the hedge fund billionaire, on Thursday disclosed a 7.9 percent stake in J C Penney, with 17.4 million shares, according to a securities filing. The stake is passive, meaning Soros will not try to exert influence on the embattled retailer.

* European Union regulators took another step on Thursday toward reaching an antitrust settlement with Google Inc , asking the company's competitors to review changes proposed by Google to resolve concerns with its Internet search and advertising business.

* Trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the nation's largest options exchange, was delayed for several hours on Thursday because of computer problems, the latest incident to highlight the vulnerability of markets to technological shocks.




* Raed Jaser, who is accused of plotting an "al-Qaeda supported" scheme to kill people by derailing a Via passenger train, was jailed in Toronto nine years ago and facing deportation.

* The Quebec government has unveiled an ambitious 10 year, C$92.3 billion ($90.5 billion) infrastructure plan in which projects will be awarded under a new set of rules to ensure "transparency and integrity."

* The Toronto Police Services Board is willing to consider putting armed police officers at Billy Bishop airport so that passengers can go through U.S. customs before boarding.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires that armed police are present for U.S. workers to perform customs checks.

Reports in the business section:

* After four consecutive quarters of falling profit, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan said Thursday it's seeing higher sales to China, Latin America and India as customers are lured back by low prices after a buyers' strike last year.

* Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is edging back into the United States as the bank hunts for growth, having retreated to Canada several years ago following a series of costly missteps south of the border.

* Loblaw Cos Ltd is moving to bolster safety audits of its Joe Fresh clothing factories in Bangladesh. The audits - which are comparable to others in the industry - fail to address the issue of building construction or integrity.

* Department store retailer Sears Canada Inc is determined to follow through on its turnaround efforts and operate as a retailer, it will look at opportunities as they arise to sell operations and even stores, chief executive officer Calvin McDonald said on Thursday morning.


* The triple crime of abduction, rape and murder will likely soon be punishable by at least 40 years in prison after the federal government lent its support to a Conservative private member's bill Thursday.


* Hemmed in by uncooperative jurisdictions to the south, west and east, Alberta is looking upward, exploring at least two new northern projects that would help the province get its oil to tidewater, making it available for export to overseas markets.

* Imperial Oil Ltd will have to scale back plans to double production by the end of the decade if planned oil pipelines are delayed, its new CEO said Thursday.




- Jiangxi province, in southeast China, has confirmed the first case of human infection with the bird flu on Thursday. The latest infected is a 69-year-old male retiree, according to Department of Health of Jiangxi province.


- The total net profit reported by 2,385 Chinese-listed companies reached 1.93 trillion yuan ($313 billion) in 2012, up 0.62 percent from a year earlier. However, excluding results of financial firms, total net profit of the remaining listed companies fell 12.28 percent from a year earlier.


- China's steel market may remain weak next month, although it is a peak consumption season traditionally, according to the country's steel industry group. Demand remains lukewarm as housing starts are falling and the overall manufacturing sector remains weak said the China Iron and Steel Association.

- China's rapid urbanization and rising demand will support the growth of specialty chemicals maker Clariant after sales more than doubled in the region, the firm said on Thursday.


- Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang met with Swiss Vice President and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter on Thursday. Wang said China and Switzerland enjoy sound development of bilateral ties and their economies are highly complementary

Fly on the Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



AXIS Capital (AXS) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Allscripts (MDRX) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Boeing (BA) upgraded to Buy from Hold at BB&T
Boston Scientific (BSX) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Cameron (CAM) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Commercial Metals (CMC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Lender Processing (LPS) upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
LogMeln (LOGM) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Cowen
PennyMac (PMT) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
PulteGroup (PHM) upgraded to Top Pick from Outperform at RBC Capital
Regions Financial (RF) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Teradyne (TER) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Unilever (UN) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Societe Generale
bebe stores (BEBE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital


AB InBev (BUD) downgraded to Conviction Sell from Sell at Goldman
Alkermes (ALKS) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
AmerisourceBergen (ABC) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
Baidu (BIDU) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Brean Capital
Carpenter Technology (CRS) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Embraer (ERJ) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup
F5 Networks (FFIV) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital
Hancock Holding (HBHC) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Wunderlich
ITT Educational (ESI) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Compass Point
Ingredion (INGR) downgraded to Hold from Buy at BB&T
KLA-Tencor (KLAC) downgraded to Outperform from Buy at CLSA
National Instruments (NATI) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
PerkinElmer (PKI) downgraded to Buy from Strong Buy at ISI Group
PetroLogistics (PDH) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Raymond James (RJF) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Sandridge Mississippian Trust (SDT) downgraded to Underperform at Oppenheimer
USG (USG) downgraded to Outperform from Top Pick at RBC Capital
Windstream (WIN) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill


Clayton Williams (CWEI) initiated with a Hold at Canaccord
Eaton (ETN) initiated with a Buy at SunTrust
TherapeuticsMD (TXMD) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies


Citi Securities and Fund Services (C) to acquire ING's (ING) custody and securities services business in seven Central and Eastern European markets
Yahoo (YHOO) Chairman Fred Amoroso resigned, to leave board
Citigroup (C) announced $1.2B stock repurchase program, 1c per share dividend
Wellpoint (WLP), subsidiaries' ratings removed from “under review” by A.M. Best
Eastman Chemical (EMN) said on track to achieve double-digit earnings growth in FY13
Dresser-Rand (DRC) reaffirmed FY13 operating income, bookings guidance
Expedia (EXPE) backed adjusted FY13 EBITDA growth view in “the low double digits”
Coinstar (CSTR) proposed name change to Outerwall
UPS (UPS), Teamsters agreed on new five-year contracts


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Covidien (COV), Olin Corp. (OLN), Dresser-Rand (DRC), Dolby (DLB), NetSuite (N), Chubb (CB), Wynn Resorts (WYNN), Coinstar (CSTR), Starbucks (SBUX), Expedia (EXPE), Deckers Outdoor (DECK), (AMZN)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Corporate Office Properties (OFC), Santander Chile (BSAC), Leggett & Platt (LEG), PerkinElmer (PKI), Baidu (BIDU), Celadon Group (CGI), Clearwire (CLWR)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Tellabs (TLAB), Intermolecular (IMI), Superior Energy (SPN), Tesaro (TSRO)


  • Japan's transport ministry today said it’s planning to lift the order grounding flights of Boeing (BA) 787 Dreamliners by Japanese airlines. The ministry also said it’s asking the country's airlines to implement extra safety steps to ensure the plane’s safety, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • U.S. companies are pulling back on borrowing, which could put a drag on the U.S. economy and make it harder for banks to break out of their long slump. Outstanding loans by the biggest banks to U.S. companies fell 9% in the first two weeks of April compared with the end of March, according to Fed data, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • The Bank of Japan forecast today that inflation will increase to about 2% towards the latter half of the next three years due to its massive stimulus plan, but analysts say it may be too optimistic, Reuters reports
  • Danone SA (DANOY) and Yakult Honsha Co. will dissolve a strategic tie-up, sources say, Reuters reports
  • Top Chinese leaders said the country must guard against financial risks and boost consumption amid signs that the recovery in its economy is faltering, Bloomberg reports
  • Google’s (GOOG) Motorola Mobility unit isn’t entitled to the potentially billions of dollars it sought for its patents on technology used throughout the electronics community, a federal judge ruled in a victory for Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Bloomberg reports


Accenture (ACN) files to sell 41.2M Class A ordinary shares
Altisource Residential (RESI) 12.5M share Secondary priced at $18.75
First Security (FSGI) files to sell 60.74M shares of common stock for holders
NeuroMetrix (NURO) files to sell $10M of units
Saint Joe Co. (JOE) files to sell 25.04M shares of common stock
Spectranetics (SPNC) 4.75M share Secondary priced at $18.00