Frontrunning: May 28

  • ‘Cov-lite’ loans soar in dash for yield (FT)
  • Cambodian police clash with thousands of garment workers, 23 hurt (Reuters)
  • Obama Accepting Sequestration as Deficit Shrinks (BBG)
  • Having done nothing to restore confidence in a fragmented market, the SEC turns back to main street fraud (WSJ)
  • Europe's austerity-to-growth shift largely semantic (Reuters)
  • Germany thwarts EU in China solar fight (FT)
  • In EU-China dispute, Beijing warns of trade  (FT)
  • U.S. Oil Boom Divides OPEC (WSJ)
  • Record Cash Sent to Balanced Funds (BBG)
  • Hilsenrath: Fed Wrestles With Market Expectations About Pace of QE (WSJ)
  • Worse-Than-Cyprus Debt Load Means Caribbean Defaults to Moody’s (BBG)
  • States Raise College Budgets After Years of Deep Cuts (WSJ)
  • U.K. Banks Cut 189,000 With Employment at Nine-Year Low (BBG)
  • First Carnival, now... Fire on Royal Caribbean cruise ship cuts short Bahamas trip (Reuters)

Overnight Media Digest


* The American energy boom is deepening splits within OPEC, threatening to drive a wedge between African and Arab members as the cartel grapples with a revolution in the global oil trade.

* U.S. securities regulators are turning back toward Main Street, renewing their focus on accounting fraud and other financial-disclosure failings.

* Amid a European push to reduce fossil-fuel use and carbon-dioxide emissions, some coal-burning power plants are switching to wood and importing the resource from the United States.

* Lower prices for commodities from cotton to copper are helping U.S. businesses by reducing their raw material costs and buoying consumers by keeping a lid on prices paid.

* The White House is seeking to lay the groundwork for a U.S. summit next month that has been billed as a chance for presidents Xi Jinping and Barack Obama to get down to business on topics such as cybersecurity and North Korea.

* UnitedHealth and Humana will begin offering smaller employers the option of self-insurance later this year, as businesses cast about for ways to minimize costs related to the federal health law.

* As U.S. banks struggle to maintain margins amid growing regulatory demands, some of them have started to outsource part of the onerous work involved in servicing mortgages and processing foreclosures to India's major technology companies.

* Shell is returning its exploration focus to the West African heartlands after a second attempt to gain a foothold in new gas discoveries off Africa's East Coast failed.


Britain's Co-operative Group Ltd has named former 30-year veteran HSBC Holdings Plc banker Niall Booker as the man to lead its banking arm as the lender struggles to deal with concerns over its capital position.

Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said on Monday it agreed to buy privately held ophthalmology business Bausch & Lomb Holdings Inc from Warburg Pincus LLC for $8.7 billion.

The Crown Estate, which manages an 8-billion-pound property empire for the Queen, has joined forces with Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System in a 320-million-pound deal to fund a part of an overhaul of St James's Market area in central London.

French holiday firm Club Mediterranee's top shareholders, Fosun International and AXA Private Equity, said on Monday they would team up to takeover the group in a deal that values it at around 556 million euros.

India's United Spirits Ltd on Monday approved the allotment of 10 percent of its enlarged capitalisation on a preferential basis for around 300 million pounds to Diageo Plc , the world's biggest distiller by sales.

Britain and France can now freely supply weapons to the rebels groups in Syria as the European Union agreed to lift the arms embargo in the country amid deep reluctance from other member states.



* Citing heavy losses in its electronics business, analysts say Sony should concentrate its efforts where they pay: selling life, auto and health insurance. ()

* Urenco, the global leader in the uranium enrichment industry, wants to sell for reasons of geopolitics, economics and the notion of an energy source that could turn deadly.

* As part of the new health care law, companies that offer high-end health care plans to their employees will face a 40 percent tax in 2018, and many are scaling back some benefits.

* A Supreme Court case on considering race as a factor in university admissions has reignited debate on African-Americans' progress in sought-after professions.

* Trade negotiations between Europe and China turned into an exchange of recriminations over what the Europeans insist is unfairly low pricing for Chinese solar panels.

* Investors with experience in technology companies are choosing to back multiple projects at one time, with more active roles than those of venture capitalists.

* By blending advanced computer vision techniques with low-cost video cameras, the Israeli company Mobileye is demonstrating how quickly autonomous driving can be commercialized.




* Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has lost two more members of his inner circle, press secretary George Christopoulos and his deputy Isaac Ransom, just days after parting ways with his chief of staff. After Mark Towhey was fired on Thursday, the two staffers responsible for managing his message were quietly packing up their offices on the weekend, sources in the mayor's office told the Globe and Mail. ()

* New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration is known for its combative stance toward lawmakers, bureaucrats and reporters alike. Now the administration has all but declared war on a new enemy: Canada. Or, at least, an arm of the Canadian government. At issue is the 1,901 metre bridge that crosses the Niagara River between Buffalo and Fort Erie, Ontario. It is called the Peace Bridge, though its name does not seem especially apt now. ()

Reports in the business section:

* An unusual item dominated Bombardier Inc's display stand at one of the world's biggest transportation exhibitions. It wasn't a shiny new plane or train. It was a bus. The orange and white bus looked perfectly ordinary on the outside, but it was the showpiece for Bombardier's push into a fast-growing new market - electric buses - that the Montreal-based company thinks has the potential to go global. ()


* Arthur Porter, the well-connected oncologist and hospital administer whom Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed three years ago to oversee Canada's spy agency, was arrested with his wife in Panama on charges including fraud against the Quebec government relating to his alleged role in the handling of a C$1.3 billion ($1.26 billion) Montreal hospital construction and maintenance contract, awarded three years ago to scandal-plagued engineering giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. ()

* After Stephen Harper's long-awaited return to Ottawa from a trip to South America, one that saw him avoid a parliamentary grilling about the Senate expenses scandal, the expectation was that the government would face tough questions over the future of the Red Chamber. Instead it was Justin Trudeau who found himself on the receiving end of a barrage of criticism from the Tories, who seized on controversial comments the Liberal leader made about the Quebec-dominated Senate that have angered western provinces. ()


* Air Canada is hoping its new low-cost carrier, Rouge, will give the country's largest carrier an opportunity to refresh its image both aesthetically and in terms of customer experience. And it's reaching out to the experts to do so: Walt Disney Co. ()

* It is unlikely Mark Carney will be doing his successor any favors on Wednesday when the outgoing Bank of Canada governor puts his final stamp on a monetary policy that he has guided for the past five years.




- State-owned enterprises should promote resource integration and mergers and acquisitions by off-loading non-core assets, said Li Baomin, director of the research centre of State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.


- Chinese securities companies must manage and examine the quality and safety of underlying assets in their asset-backed securities businesses, an official from China's securities regulator was quoted as saying.


- Details of a plan to allow loans to be provided by securities companies using equity as collateral is under consideration by officials and a draft could be released as early as June, sources told the newspaper.


- China and Germany should promote cooperation in the manufacturing and information and communication technology industries and establish a Sino-German financial dialogue, said Premier Li Keqiang on his visit to Germany on Sunday.


Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



Eli Lilly (LLY) upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Johnson Controls (JCI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Kansas City Southern (KSU) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at BMO Capital
Logitech (LOGI) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse
MAKO Surgical (MAKO) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Merck (MRK) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Novo Nordisk (NVO) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Deutsche Bank
PSEG (PEG) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse
Sempra Energy (SRE) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays


Align Technology (ALGN) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Artisan Partners (APAM) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Broadcom (BRCM) downgraded to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna
Exelon (EXC) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
FirstEnergy (FE) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Lloyds Banking (LYG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup
St. Jude Medical (STJ) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Canaccord
Tsakos Energy (TNP) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
URS Corporation (URS) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital


Ellington Financial (EFC) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
Ellington Residential (EARN) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Ellington Residential (EARN) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
Ellington Residential (EARN) initiated with a Neutral at Credit Suisse
Intelsat (I) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
Intelsat (I) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Intelsat (I) initiated with a Neutral at Credit Suisse
Intelsat (I) initiated with an Overweight at Evercore
QIWI (QIWI) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
QIWI (QIWI) initiated with an Outperform at William Blair
SunCoke Energy (SXC) re-initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
Taminco (TAM) initiated with a Buy at Citigroup
Taminco (TAM) initiated with a Buy at Goldman
Taminco (TAM) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
W.R. Grace (GRA) initiated with a Conviction Buy at Goldman


Valeant (VRX) to acquire Bausch & Lomb for $8.7B
AstraZeneca (AZN) acquired Omthera (OMTH) for $12.70 per share or $323M
Glenview: No intention, plan to buy $2.2B of stock in Health Management (HMA)
News Corp. (NWSA) to take $1.2B-$1.4B charge in Q4 related to publishing segment
NHTSA investigating incidents of reduced engine power in F150 trucks (F)
Wi-LAN (WILN) and Dell (DELL) signed license agreement to settle patent litigation
Overland Storage (OVRL) board to evaluate proposal from Cyrus Capital Partners


  • America’s energy boom is deepening splits within OPEC, threatening to drive a wedge between African and Arab members as OPEC grapples with a revolution in the global oil trade, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates supports a wide-ranging debate on corporate tax, as governments in the U.S. and elsewhere increase scrutiny of the tax practices used by multinationals on their overseas income, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • Shares in Fiat (FIATY) jumped over 4% to a peak since August 2011 today as speculation over a deal to buy the 41.5% stake it doesn’t already own in Chrysler continued, Reuters reports
  • Credit Suisse (CS) Chairman Urs Rohner warned that a long-running tax dispute with the U.S. over hidden Swiss bank accounts could easily escalate and spill over to rivals if not settled, Reuters reports
  • The U.S. mortgage bonds that were exported worldwide and triggered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression are now helping Europe’s banks and governments repair balance sheets after jumping in value, Bloomberg reports
  • DHL, the courier and freight company of Deutsche Post (DPSGY), plans to spend $181M over the next two years building warehouses and adding workers in Southeast Asian as economic growth spurs consumption by the middle class, Bloomberg reports


Hertz (HTZ) stock could jump up to 70% in the next two years
Trimble Navigation (TRMB) shares could rise over 25%
Conn's (CONN), BioScrip (BIOS), JDS Uniphase (JDSU), AFC Enterprises (AFCE) may be growth plays
UTi Worldwide (UTIW) looks ready to improve
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) turnaround “iffy” but can't get worse


Air Lease (AL) files to sell 8M shares of common stock for holders
First Interstate (FIBK) files to sell $160M of common stock
Neuralstem (CUR) files to sell 2.87M shares of common stock for holders
PBF Energy (PBF) files to sell 15.95M shares of common stock for holders
Tile Shop (TTS) files to sell 4.25M shares of common stock for holders
Ubiquiti Networks (UBNT) files to sell 7M shares of common stock for holders


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