Frontrunning: July 3

  • Portuguese bond yields soar amid political turmoil (FT)
  • Portugal Resignation Rocks European Markets (WSJ)
  • Portugal, Greece risk reawakening euro zone beast (Reuters)
  • Egypt’s military chiefs hold crisis meeting as Mursi snubs ultimatum (Al Arabiya)
  • Egypt Crisis Deepens as Mursi Refuses to Step Down (BBG)
  • Health Law Penalties Delayed (WSJ)
  • Rise in mortgage rates cut into homebuyer demand last week (Reuters)
  • Hidden microphone found in London embassy: Ecuador (AFP)
  • Bolivia angered by search of president's plane, no sign of Snowden (Reuters)
  • High-Dollar Claim Adds to Goldman Legal Woes (WSJ)
  • Olympus ex-chairman gets suspended sentence (FT)
  • Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank Ratings Cut by S&P (BBG)
  • Greece May Need To Issue T-Bills If No Aid Deal Reached By Fri (MNI)


Overnight Media Digest


* The Obama administration said it is delaying penalties for large employers who don't provide health-insurance coverage to workers under the federal health-care law for 2014, the first year the provision was set to take effect.

* National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden's options narrowed as his globe-spanning plea for asylum came up short. Some countries, including Germany, Poland, India and Brazil, rejected Snowden's request for asylum outright. Others said he must make it to their soil to file a claim - currently an impossibility for the fugitive, given his lack of a valid passport.

* Growing North American oil supplies promise to bolster U.S. energy security, but they already are helping deliver a more global benefit: stable oil prices.

* Investigators are piecing together exactly what happened days after a wildfire killed nineteen members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshots, and will seek to determine what led to the "burn-over" that caught the victims.

* Pressure is building on Michael Dell to contribute more of his own wealth if he wants to ensure that his planned buyout of computer maker Dell Inc happens.

* Microsoft Corp's Xbox division was already in crunchtime before losing its leader to Zynga Inc. Now it faces a new question: Who will take over the videogame business?

* A former vice president of Tiffany and Co was accused of stealing more than $1.3 million of jewelry and selling off the pilfered baubles.

* U.S. auto sales rose at the strongest rate in more than five years in June, lending new confidence to industry executives' belief that the nation's auto recovery has more room to run.

* Avon Products Inc said it would sell its struggling jewelry business for $85 million in cash, removing another drag on its performance as it works to turn itself around under Chief Executive Sheri McCoy.

* Former Time Inc Chief Financial Officer Michael Klingensmith is a leading contender to become chief executive of the magazine giant, which is due to be spun out of Time Warner Inc around the end of the year.

* Francesca Bellettini was named chief executive of Yves Saint Laurent and the label's designer, Hedi Slimane, was given additional duties. Former Chief Executive Paul Deneve is joining Apple Inc after just two years at the fashion label.

* Oil companies notched a win in their bid to block a securities rule requiring the disclosure of payments to foreign governments for oil and gas development. A federal judge threw out the regulation as written by the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying Congress didn't require companies to make the data public.

* China is investigating foreign makers of baby formula, shining a light on the country's scandal-plagued industry and a demand for overseas goods that has affected parents from Australia to the UK.

* Companies have long hired motivational speakers and business "gurus" to address employee audiences. But lately, event planners are tapping CEOs, historians, and even fighter pilots to offer a fresh take on topics such as crisis management and corporate culture



Royal Bank of Scotland has appointed former Bank of England deputy governor Andrew Large to conduct a review of its lending to small businesses.

China will most likely miss its 2015 target for shale gas production due to slower-than-expected development of initial shale gas fields.

State-owned oil firm China National Petroleum Co will buy a stake in Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan oilfield in a deal worth $5 billion.

Russia's top oil producer Rosneft has bought the 49 percent of gas producer Itera it did not already own in a deal worth $2.9 billion.

Former business secretary Peter Mandelson has urged Westminster colleagues to reconsider High Speed 2, the new 50 billion pound high speed railway connecting London to the north of England.

Former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Louis Freeh has been appointed to investigate allegations of misconduct at the office administering compensation claims against BP for the Deepwater Horizon oilspill.



* A looming deadline to regulate trading by American banks overseas has set off a rare breakdown of decorum at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, long known for its cordiality.

* New York's top prosecutor is investigating some of the state's largest employers over their use of ATM-style cards to pay their hourly employees. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters seeking information to about twenty employers, including McDonald's, Walgreen Co and Wal-Mart.

* In a significant setback for President Obama's signature domestic initiative, the administration on Tuesday abruptly announced a one-year delay, until 2015, in his healthcare law's mandate that larger employers provide coverage for their workers or pay penalties. The decision postpones the effective date beyond next year's midterm elections.

* Investors pulled a record amount of money from Pimco's flagship Total Return bond fund, the largest mutual fund in the world, in June, a stark indication of how rising interest rates have pushed bonds out of favor.

* The universal banking model is under attack by regulators, but Deutsche Bank seems determined to keep its two-track focus of branch network and investment bank.

* Pressure from shareholders has led a subcommittee of the Dell Inc board of directors to ask the company's founder, Michael Dell, to raise his offer to buyout the company.

* The Federal Reserve seemed to recognize that its approval of new banking rules related to Basel III was only part of the solution.

* Pickup trucks and SUVs led the way, resulting in the best performance in at least six years for Ford Motor Co and Chrysler and the best month for General Motors Co since September 2008.

* Both Honda Motor Co Ltd and General Motors have working fuel-cell-powered prototypes, but want to combine their resources to reach the next step in development.




* George Taylor was still basking in the memories of a beautiful summer day's performance by his native dance troupe in front of thousands of Canada Day celebrants outside the legislature, when told of the alleged plot to explode pressure cooker bombs during festivities.

* Soaring temperatures on Tuesday pushed Alberta's demand for electricity beyond what it can deliver, so the power regulator ordered some utility companies to use less, which caused temporary rolling blackouts.

Reports in the business section:

* Canadian pension plans continued their bounce back to financial health in June, buoyed by a sharp spike in long-term bond yields over the past two weeks.

* A proposed free-trade deal with Japan offers Canada the potential of an early and quick trade win, with a much shorter list of contentious issues than those dogging other negotiations, trade experts and industry officials say.

* The slumping Canadian dollar is a shot in the arm for many exporters, but those gains will be tempered by the hedging many put in place to protect themselves during the loonie's long stretch above par.


* Economist Marcel Côté has never been shy to speak his mind on matters of public policy, but until now his political experience has been limited to backrooms in Ottawa and Quebec City.

* Some homeowners are banding together in an attempt to name and shame insurance companies that have rejected their claims for sewer backup damage following recent floods.


* The Canadian dollar briefly slid to its lowest level in nearly two years Tuesday as the U.S. dollar gained traction on confidence over the direction of bond yields and the broader U.S. economy.

* BlackBerry's disappointing first-quarter results on lower-than-anticipated BB10 shipments suggest the smartphone maker needs to spend more cash to stimulate sales




- The price of agricultural produce in China fell for the second week in a row, while production costs decreased for the seventh week, according to data from the Commerce Department, as analysts predict a CPI increase of about 2.6 percent this year.

- Banking sector profits are expected to increase by 10 percent, said industry experts, although certain commercial lenders may earn less due to employee turnover and the reduction of credit risks.


- The net increase in foreign exchange assets held by China's central bank fell by 64 percent month-on-month to 1.01 million yuan in May, the lowest increases in six months, in a further sign that foreign capital inflows are slowing.


- China's President Xi Jinping met Macedonian Prime Minister Gruevski, during which Xi stressed the importance of the close relationship between the two countries and spoke of the nation's commitment to further ties with other central and Eastern European states.

Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



ARM Holdings (ARMH) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Autonation (AN) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Comerica (CMA) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Citigroup
EZCORP (EZPW) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee
Randgold Resources (GOLD) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Citigroup
Zions Bancorp (ZION) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup


ACCO Brands (ACCO) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Alcoa (AA) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
AllianceBernstein (AB) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Belo (BLC) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
Endurance Specialty (ENH) downgraded to Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
First Niagara (FNFG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee
Fresenius Medical (FMS) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Exane BNP Paribas
Mead Johnson (MJN) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
Mindray Medical (MR) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Oiltanking Partners (OILT) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill (OSTK) downgraded to Underperform from Buy at BofA/Merrill


21st Century Fox (FOXA) initiated with a Buy at Needham
AmeriGas (APU) coverage assumed with an Underperform at Credit Suisse
Cheniere Energy Partners (CQP) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Cintas (CTAS) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Ecolab (ECL) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
GATX Corp. (GMT) initiated with an Equal Weight at Stephens
Manpower (MAN) initiated with a Sector Perform at RBC Capital
On Assignment (ASGN) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Robert Half (RHI) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Rollins (ROL) initiated with a Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Suburban Propane (SPH) coverage assumed with a Neutral at Credit Suisse


Barclays (BCS), Credit Suisse (CS), Deutsche Bank (DB) ratings cut by S&P, UBS (UBS) affirmed
Supreme Court denied Cablevision (CVC) application seeking stay of NLRB action, Reuters reports
Prudential (PRU) requested hearings to Financial Stability Oversight Council related to SIFI designation
Former FBI director Freeh to lead probe on BP (BP) payout claims
US. Steel (X) among petitioners to ITC in request on import tariffs
S&P raised Alliant Tech (ATK) ratings to 'BB'; affirms 'BB' corporate credit rating
S&P cut Arch Coal (ACI) debt rating to 'BB-'
Fitch affirmed Sun Life Financial (SLF) ratings, outlook negative
Syngenta (SYT) to acquire MRI Seed Zambia Ltd and MRI Agro
NASDAQ OMX (NDAQ), Borsa Istanbul signed strategic partnership
Hasbro (HAS), Electronic Arts (EA) in new agreement for mobile games
Avon Products(AVP) to sell Silpada to Rhinestone for $85M plus earn-out
Cliffs Natural (CLF) restarted Wabush Scully mine
OCZ Technology (OCZ) said restatement taking longer than expected


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Intellipharmaceutics (IPCI)


  • Financial regulators stated explicitly what they have been signaling for months: More action is needed to reduce risks posed by the nation's largest banks (GS, JPM, WFC, C, STT, BK, BAC, MS) to the broader economy, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • U.S. auto sales last month increased (GM, F, NSANY, TM, HMC, FIATY, VLKAY, DDAIF) at the strongest rate in more than five years, driven by a surge in pickup truck demand, lending new confidence to industry executives' belief that the nation's auto recovery has more room to run, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • Institutional investors are falling over themselves to buy so-called peer-to-peer loans offered by a new breed of Internet lending companies, a development that could transform the sector into significant player in the credit markets, Reuters reports
  • BlackBerry’s (BBRY) chances of becoming a viable contender to Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) in the smartphone market are dimming amid lackluster demand for its flagship touch-screen device, Bloomberg reports
  • Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX), which jumped over 50% after rejecting a bid from Amgen (AMGN), is betting that potential suitors from Bayer (BAYRY) to Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) are willing to offer even more, Bloomberg reports


Generex Biotech (GNBT) files to sell 98.16M shares of common stock for holders
Mandalay Digital (MNDL) files $30M mixed securities shelf
TearLab (TEAR) files $35M mixed securities shelf


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