Frontrunning: May 6

  • Lesson From Buffett: Doubt Yourself (WSJ)
  • Gold Bulls Split With Buffett as Traders Say Sell (BBG)
  • Russia extends Cypriot loan by 2 years, cuts interest: troika document (Reuters)
  • Tax Rewrite in Play in Capitol (WSJ)
  • Apple Misses IPhone Customers as Global Carriers Balk (BBG)
  • No early warning for U.S. on Israeli strikes in Syria (Reuters)
  • Germany riveted at start of neo-Nazi murder trial (Reuters)
  • JPMorgan Investors Urged to Split Chairman Role, Oust Directors (BBG)
  • Leniency for Offshore Cheats (WSJ)
  • Ringgit Jumps Most Since 2010, Stocks Reach Record Post Election (BBG)
  • Brussels steps up efforts over tax avoidance (FT)
  • Ambulance chasing: Mesothelioma Doctors, Lawyers Join Hunt for Valuable Asbestos Cases (WSJ)
  • Web Sales-Tax Bill Set to Face Bumps (WSJ)
  • EU levy on Chinese solar panels risks stirring wider tensions (FT)
  • Colleges Cut Prices by Providing More Financial Aid (WSJ)


Overnight Media Digest


* U.S. courts are doling out more lenient punishment to tax evaders hiding money offshore than to other tax cheats.

* Senators began laying the groundwork for formal debate on immigration-overhaul legislation, including a provision that would extend immigration rights for same-sex couples.

* Malaysian stocks surged on Monday to a record high and the currency jumped after the ruling party Sunday retained power in country's general elections, reassuring investors who had worried about a potential change of government.

* Many influential investors began the year betting that Treasury prices would slide as the U.S. economy accelerated, ending a decades-long fixed-income bull market. But that hasn't happened.

* As companies step up stock buybacks to return cash to shareholders, compensation targets tied to per-share earnings are increasing many executives' pay.



* ISS, a shareholder advisory firm, has recommended that investors withhold their support for three JPMorgan directors.

* Major media companies, including Condé Nast, Yahoo and Hulu, are promoting online video programming on a large scale, but it is not clear whether advertising dollars will follow.

* The USA Network believes that in order to stay competitive it has to branch out into new programming directions.

* Jet makers are avoiding risk by redoing old models. Boeing's announcement that it had started presenting airlines with an enhanced version of its 777 jet, rather than a whole new plane, underscores the shift.

* Easy credit, combined with crony capitalism and corporate mismanagement, fueled a banking crisis that threatens to make Slovenia follow the path of Cyprus.

* Xavier Niel's low-cost Web and mobile services have disrupted the established operators in France, but his goal is no less than to instill an entrepreneurial technology culture in the country.




* After comments that left some with the impression that Canada was open to discussing a military campaign against the Syrian regime, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird clarified the government's position. "Canada is not contemplating a military mission in Syria," Baird's press secretary, Rick Roth, said a few hours after CTV's Question Period aired an interview with the minister.

* Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says Ontario New Democrats should reject the budget tabled by the minority Liberals because taxpayers have grown tired of scandal and want a provincial election.

Reports in the business section:

* Canadian retailers who have delayed launching a robust e-commerce website are running out of time and face "their last wake-up call," suggests a new report on the state of online shopping in Canada.

* Less than a year after the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rejected BCE Inc's C$3 billion ($2.98 billion) for Astral Media Inc, both companies' executives will find themselves once again sitting across from the CRTC chairman arguing the deal is in the best interests of not only the companies but also Canadian consumers.


* Some helicopters from U.S. President Barack Obama's cast-off fleet may yet find their way into the service of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Defence Minister Peter MacKay recently ordered National Defence to take another look at whether some of the nine VH-71 aircraft - purchased for spare parts to keep Canada's search-and-rescue choppers flying - can be made fully operational.




The average net profit of all companies listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange fell 11.5 percent in 2012, the first drop since 2009. Merger and reorganisation increased 32.2 percent to 168.9 billion yuan ($27 billion) in the same year.


U.S.-billionaire Warren Buffett said he does not have any interest in purchasing Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd, according to an interview with the newspaper.


Chinese policymakers should act promptly to control house prices, which have continued to rise despite various measures that have been put in place, the paper said in an editorial.


Wang Yang, Vice Premier of the State Council, said the northeastern province of Heilongjiang should make efforts to reduce the impact of natural disasters and promote the steady production of grain.


Corporate Finance

* A private equity group made up of Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital Corp are nearing a deal to acquire BMC Software Inc and an announcement could come as early as Monday, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

* JPMorgan may buy $150 million stake in India's Diligent Power, the Economic Times reported, citing three persons with knowledge of the development.

* Oman is considering whether to issue a U.S. dollar-denominated sovereign bond, its first international bond since 1997 and its second ever, to facilitate debt sales by its private sector, finance minister Darwish al-Balushi told Reuters.

* Financial consultancies Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young are interested in buying peer Roland Berger, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Sunday.

* Online gambling firm Betfair is considering paying its shareholders 140 million pounds ($218 million) to fend off a hostile takeover from private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, the Sunday Times newspaper said.


Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



CBL & Associates (CBL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Cliffs Natural (CLF) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at FBR Capital
Diodes (DIOD) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Dollar General (DG) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Fairchild Semiconductor (FCS) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Intel (INTC) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Mercer (MERC) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Neutral Tandem (IQNT) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley
Provident Financial (PROV) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Thoratec (THOR) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse
Transocean (RIG) upgraded to Strong Buy from Buy at ISI Group
United Natural Foods (UNFI) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
YRC Worldwide (YRCW) upgraded to Hold from Underweight at BB&T


C&J Energy (CJES) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Corcept Therapeutics (CORT) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Exelon (EXC) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at ISI Group
HeartWare (HTWR) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Kimco Realty (KIM) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Moody's (MCO) downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James
PACCAR (PCAR) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
Unum Group (UNM) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Weatherford (WFT) downgraded to Neutral from Strong Buy at ISI Group


Altisource Residential (RESI) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
BroadSoft (BSFT) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Hanesbrands (HBI) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Howard Hughes (HHC) initiated with a Market Perform at JMP Securities
KNOT Offshore Partners (KNOP) initiated with a Buy at BofA/Merrill
KNOT Offshore Partners (KNOP) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays


Onex to acquire Nielsen Expositions (NLSN) for $950M
McAfee (INTC) to acquire Stonesoft for $389M in cash
EU objected to Google's (GOOG) patent lawsuit against Apple (AAPL)
Warren Buffett (BRK.A) told CNBC: “We'll be in Heinz (HTZ) forever.”
Wal-Mart (WMT) launched national advertising campaign to show ”The Real Walmart”'
S&P downgraded Hospira (HSP) to 'BBB-' on product replacement
Moody's affirmed Aon's (AON) ratings, changed outlook to positive
CNO Financial (CNO) seeks to amend senior secured credit facility


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Orbotech (ORBK), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), Southwest Gas (SWX), Stein Mart (SMRT)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Westlake Chemical (WLK), Hawaiian Telcom (HCOM), American Capital Mortgage (MTGE)


  • Toyota (TM) and Honda (HMC) were top sellers a few years ago and by a wide margin. No more. Now, it is a wide-open market. Ford (F) and GM (GM) have turned their midsize sedans into real challengers and closed the quality gap with Japan, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • There was no big news at Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK.A) annual meeting this past weekend, but there was one great lesson for investors: Perhaps the most important thing you can do when everything seems to be going right in your portfolio is to listen to somebody who insists you are wrong, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • Some Verizon Communications (VZ) shareholders say they could be happy for the company to pay up to $130B for Vodafone Group’s (VOD) stake in their U.S. wireless venture. Two large shareholders in Verizon say they could be comfortable with paying 20% to 30% more to secure Verizon Wireless, Reuters reports
  • A unit of Sinopec Group (SHI) and brokerage China Galaxy Securities are launching Hong Kong  IPOs today seeking to raise up to $3.5B in total, injecting life into Asia's moribund IPO markets where deal values more than halved in Q1, Reuters reports
  • Bond investors are gaining confidence that Fed Chairman Bernanke will unwind the central bank’s unprecedented $3.3T balance sheet without sparking a crash similar to 1994, Bloomberg reports
  • Apple (AAPL) is missing out on an opportunity to court up to 2.8B new smartphone customers, many of them in Asia, as wireless-service providers balk at conditions imposed by the iPhone maker and drag their heels in signing on as partners, Bloomberg reports


Discover (DFS) CEO sold 75,000 shares near all-time high
LINN Energy (LINE) could see shares drop
Atlas Air (AAWW) shares could climb 50%
Valuations could continue to drive tech stocks higher (DELL, MSFT, SNPS, FFIV, INTC, GOOG, TXN, AAPL, AMZN, JDSU)


Icahn Enterprises (IEP) files $1B mixed securities shelf
Pizza Inn (PZZI) files to sell $3M of common stock


SAC Capital reports 5.3% passive stake in RenaissanceRe (RNR)