Frontrunning: May 14

  • Controversies give Obama new governing headaches (Reuters)
  • About that Capex... BHP to Rein In Investment, Chief Says (WSJ), considers returning cash to shareholders (FT)
  • Bloomberg users’ messages leaked online (FT)
  • Japanese mayor sparks China outrage with sex-slave remarks (Reuters)
  • Economists Cut China Forecasts (WSJ)
  • U.S. oil boom leaves OPEC sidelined from demand growth (Reuters)
  • U.S. banks push back on change in loan loss accounting (Reuters)
  • Fed’s Plosser Says Slowing Inflation No Concern for Policy (BBG)
  • Watchdog probes 1m US swap contracts (FT)
  • Used Gold Supply Heads for ’08 Low as Sellers Balk (BBG)
  • Ex-BlackRock Manager Said to Be Arrested in U.K. Probe (BBG)
  • France Leads Europe in Growing Disillusionment With EU (BBG)
  • Europe’s banks turn to capital raising to meet Basel III (FT)
  • Australia Shuns Europe-Style Austerity as Swan Bets on Jobs (BBG)
  • Indonesia Holds Key Rate as Fuel Policy Plan Adds Inflation Risk (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc vice president Fabrice Tourre's legal team has a new co-captain. John Coffey, a veteran litigator and onetime candidate for New York attorney general, said he has joined the legal fight to clear Tourre of civil fraud charges levied in 2010 by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

* Shareholders are taking a close look at financial relationships between some JPMorgan Chase & Co board members and the company they oversee, in a sign of the scrutiny the nation's largest bank faces in the wake of a multibillion-dollar trading loss last year.

* Handbag and accessory maker Coach Inc's style has been to expand organically. But amid increasing competition, the company is weighing the purchase of an accessories brand, according to people familiar with the company's thinking.

* Five years after rescuing Royal Bank of Scotland Group , one of the world's biggest banks, the British government still hasn't figured out what to do with it, a sign of the country's struggle to put its banking woes behind it.

* Car makers known as the Detroit Three may be turning out their best, most competitive products in the last 10 years, according to a new study. Auto industry research and consulting company Strategic Vision said in its 2013 Total Quality Index study that U.S. brands won more TQI awards than competing brands from overseas this year, the first time that has happened in more than a decade.

* Biologists in the West are waging a slaughter campaign against a non-native fish invading from the East, but some anglers are up in arms about the war on the species. Biologists working for states and Indian tribes say the northern pike, a voracious omnivore, is wiping out native species such as trout and salmon as it spreads rapidly across the western U.S. via rivers and interconnected lakes.



More than ten thousand private messages between traders using Bloomberg's financial terminal have leaked online, even as it struggles to pacify its clients' privacy concerns.

Glass Lewis, a prominent investor advisory firm, has recommended shareholders of Goldman Sachs Group Inc to vote against its executive compensation plan and the re-election of James Johnson, head of the board's compensation committee.

Prime Minister David Cameron will unveil a draft bill on Tuesday for an European Union referendum in a bid to defuse bitterness among conservatives over his strategy on Britain's European Union membership.

The legitimacy of more than one million energy and metals transactions by traders over the past two years have been put under scrutiny by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

A YouGov survey of more than 1,000 students found that more than a quarter of them would be too embarrassed to admit to their friends that they were taking up a job in banking, emphasising the failure of banks to win over public opinion post the financial crisis.

Brazil's state-controlled oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro Petrobras SA sold $11 billion of global debt on Monday in the largest corporate bond sale from an emerging market on record.



* A survey by the Pew Research Center suggests the European Union may struggle to take the steps needed to make it viable over the long term.

* Bland New Jersey buildings are commanding rents four times as high as Class A high-rises in Manhattan but it isn't the space that attracts. It's the electrical capacity.

* Anthony Chiasson, a founder of Level Global Investors, was sentenced in an insider trading case and ordered to pay a $5 million fine and forfeit illegally obtained proceeds of as much as $2 million.

* Justice Elena Kagan, writing for a unanimous court, said an Indiana farmer could not reproduce Monsanto's genetically altered soybeans without paying a licensing fee.

* Cantab Capital Partners has been turning heads in London and New York with a new fund that aggressively undercuts its competitors on fees.

* Chinese factory activity and retail sales picked up a notch in April but analysts said expansion remains weak as the economy undergoes a long-term transition.




* More than seven years after the Queen of the North ferry crashed into a rocky island and sank, costing two passengers their lives, Karl Lilgert, the officer in charge of navigating the ship has been found guilty by the British Columbia Supreme Court of two counts of criminal negligence.

* A growing number of Arctic aboriginals have called for a moratorium on energy development in the North in a statement that seeks an end to offshore drilling and a pause in northern energy projects unless local aboriginals consent.

* Astronaut Chris Hadfield returned to the earth on Monday night after a five-month mission at the International Space Station that saw him become the first Canadian to command the orbiting laboratory.

Reports in the business section:

* When it launched its Chatr discount cellphone service in 2010, Rogers Communications Inc violated Canada's false-advertising rules by pledging "fewer dropped calls" than its upstart wireless rivals, a lawyer for the federal Competition Bureau argued in a Toronto trial on Monday.

* Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty is concerned about the sale of 30-year uninsured mortgages because the risks from some of these loans are ultimately being transferred from banks to taxpayers, and that's part of the reason why the banking regulator is now weighing changes, sources say.

* Alberta's energy sector is getting a regulatory overhaul as the province aims to burnish its environmental reputation and show it has a firm hand on the torrid pace of oil and gas development.

The revamp comes at a crucial time when the energy-rich province faces criticism for its environmental regulations, penalties, and enforcement rules and track record.


* Canadian Liberal candidate Yvonne Jones won the federal by-election in Labrador on Monday, capturing a seat that became vacant when former Conservative MP Peter Penashue quit due to campaign overspending and illegal contributions during the 2011 election.


* One major factor behind Canadian banks being the envy of the financial world is that they get so much help from the federal government.

But there may be strings attached to that security, one analyst is predicting that the big banks could actually get hit with the bill in the unlikely event that Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp (CMHC), which insures about $560 billion worth of the country's mortgages, ever needs to be bailed out.

* Canada's banking regulator, Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFC), told industry newsletter Canadian Mortgage Trends that it is considering new rules that would limit banks from issuing any mortgages at all with amortizations of more than 25 years, in a move that could further tighten mortgage rules.

* Eastern gas distributors are crying foul over service changes proposed by TransCanada Corp to its cross-country natural gas mainline that would limit shippers' ability to renew delivery contracts, as the pipeline and power giant looks to switch portions of the long-haul system to carry oil.




-- The government will resolutely carry out plans to curb industrial overcapacity and clamp down on blind expansion in related sectors, Premier Li Keqiang told a national economic teleconference on Monday.

-- When China resumes stock initial public offerings (IPO), which were suspended late last year, it should usher in steps to raise the standards of listed firms so as to avoid repeating the need for administrative measures to manage the market, the paper said in a commentary.


-- Shanghai is likely to apply to the central government as early as later this month to set up a free trade zone.

-- China State Construction Engineering Corp, a leading Chinese construction firm, said it would resume house building operations in Libya within a month. Chinese companies withdrew from Libya in March 2011 during Libya's civil war.


-- Beijing's city government is cracking down on illegal streetside barbecues in an effort to cut down on air and noise pollution, Dang Xuefeng, spokesman for the capital's bureau of city administration and law enforcement.


-- Some Shanghai universities are offering cash incentives to graduating students who are originally from outside Shanghai to return to their hometowns to work amid a tough job market in Shanghai. Universities are seeking to pump up the proportion of graduates finding jobs.


-- China and Africa should work together closely to revive their economies, President Xi Jinping said during a meeting in Beijing on Monday with his Mozambique counterpart, Armando Emilio Guebuza


Corporate Finance

* Brazil's state-controlled oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro Petrobras SA launched an $11 billion international bond sale, sources said on Monday, in what may become the largest-ever bond offering by a Latin American company.

* British water company Severn Trent Plc could be the target of a 5.3-billion-pound ($8.13 billion) takeover offer by a consortium led by Canadian infrastructure investor Borealis and the Kuwait Investment Authority, the Financial News reported on Monday.

* Chinese state-controlled power equipment maker XD Group is in talks to buy General Electric Co's Prolec GE joint venture with Mexico's Xignux SA de CV for up to $1 billion, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

* Malaysian banking giant CIMB Group Holding Bhd's bid to acquire Bank of Commerce has hit a snag and seller San Miguel Corp is willing to walk away from the 12.2-billion-peso ($296.69 million) deal if this is not resolved soon, the Inquirer reported.

* An investigation by the Reserve Bank of India into allegations of money laundering by private banks - including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank - has found large-scale violations ranging from huge cash deposits without personal account numbers to dummy numbers, the Times of India reported.

* Saudi Arabia's central bank has asked commercial banks to identify jobs that can be done by Saudi nationals as Riyadh pushes to move more of its citizens into jobs now done by expatriates, Asharq al-Awsat reported on Monday.

* High-end sportswear brand Vince, owned by St. Louis-based fashion company Kellwood Co, which is controlled by private equity firm Sun Capital, is close to filing for an initial public offering, according to two sources close to the situation.

* Celesio AG, Europe's largest drugs distributor, is considering closing some distribution centres in its home market Germany, where a price war has obliterated margins, a German newspaper reported.


Fly on the Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



Allscripts (MDRX) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Copa Holdings (CPA) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Copa Holdings (CPA) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore
Dean Foods (DF) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital
Emulex (ELX) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
Fusion-io (FIO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Higher One (ONE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at SunTrust
Wellpoint (WLP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies

AVG Technologies (AVG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Cigna (CI) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Cree (CREE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee
Melco Crown (MPEL) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
SolarCity (SCTY) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Roth Capital
SolarCity (SCTY) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse

Blackhawk (HAWK) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Blackhawk (HAWK) initiated with a Buy at Goldman
Blackhawk (HAWK) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
Blackhawk (HAWK) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
CBS (CBS) initiated with an Outperform at BMO Capital
Diebold (DBD) initiated with a Neutral at Susquehanna
Disney (DIS) initiated with an Outperform at BMO Capital
Lumos Networks (LMOS) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Monster Beverage (MNST) initiated with an Overweight at Morgan Stanley
News Corp. (NWSA) initiated with a Market Perform at BMO Capital
Raymond James (RJF) initiated with an Overweight at Evercore
Time Warner (TWX) initiated with a Market Perform at BMO Capital
Viacom (VIAB) initiated with a Market Perform at BMO Capital


Verizon Wireless to make $7B payment to Verizon Communications (VZ), Vodafone (VOD)
Icahn (IEP), Southeastern to nominate several parties to Dell (DELL) board
C.R. Bard (BCR) to pay $48.26M to U.S to resolve False Claims Act accusations
Elliott Management called Hess (HES) statement “PR stunt,” wants all of its candidates on board
Take-Two Interactive  (TTWO) CEO Zelnick said company will be profitable in FY15, beyond
Sngenta (SYT), DuPont (DD) announced technology license agreement
INTL FCStone (INTL) to acquire control of Cleartrade Exchange


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Sunshine Heart (SSH), Renren (RENN), Anthera Pharmaceuticals (ANTH), Home Inns (HMIN), Copa Holdings (CPA), Northern Tier (NTI), WuXi PharmaTech (WX), Take-Two (TTWO)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Turquoise Hill (TRQ), eLong (LONG), Fontegra Financial (FRF), Silver Bay Realty (SBY), Lehigh Gas (LGP), ChemoCentryx (CCXI)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Memsic (MEMS), Planet Payment (PLPM), Summer Infant (SUMR)


  • North American oil production will dominate world-wide supply growth over the next five years, the International Energy Agency predicted today, the result of growing production from "fracking" and other technologies that access once-inaccessible reserves, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • Daniel Loeb's Third Point has amassed a 6.5% stake in Sony (SNE) and is pressing the company to spin off part of its entertainment arm. Loeb told Sony he would accept a seat on its board, while Sony said Sony Entertainment is not for sale, the New York Times reports
  • Investors are becoming increasingly selective about which bonds and stocks they buy in Southeast Asia's fast-growing economies as the risk of policy bungling makes them more discerning, Reuters reports
  • State-run Air India Ltd will resume flying its Boeing (BA) 787 Dreamliner passenger jets tomorrow, nearly four months after the planes were grounded due to safety concerns.
  • Air India has six Dreamliners and has ordered 21 more, Reuters reports
  • China XD Group, a state-controlled power equipment maker, is in talks to buy GE’s (GE) joint venture with Mexico’s Xignux SA for about $1B, sources say, Bloomberg reports
  • Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said today in Stockholm that a slowing in U.S. inflation to the lowest rate in more than three years doesn’t warrant a Fed policy response, Bloomberg reports


Alexandria Real Estate (ARE) files to sell 6M shares of common stock
Blackstone (BX) files to sell 16M shares of common stock
CVR Refining (CVRR) files to sell 12M common units representing limited partners
Cubic (CUB) files to sell 2.4M shares of common stock
Five Below (FIVE) files to sell 9.9M shares for holders
Genomic Health (GHDX) files to sell 10M shares of common stock
MoSys (MOSY) files to sell common stock
Pike Electric (PIKE) files to sell 6.5M shares of common stock for holders
Suburban Propane (SPH) files to sell 2.7M common units for limited partners
Tallgrass Energy (TEP) 13.05M share IPO priced at $21.50
Trade Street Residential (TSRE) 6.25M share IPO priced at $10.00
Western Gas Partners (WES) files to sell 6.1M shares of common stock