Frontrunning: July 11

  • Bernanke Supports Continuing Stimulus Amid Debate Over QE (BBG)
  • Portugal president wants 'salvation' deal, including opposition (Reuters)
  • Egypt has less than two months imported wheat left - ex-minister (Reuters)
  • A rise in long-term interest rates is creating challenges and opportunities for the largest U.S. banks. (WSJ)
  • BoJ says Japanese economy is ‘recovering’ (FT)
  • More Chinese cities likely to curb auto sales (Reuters)
  • PC Shipments Fall for 5th Quarter (BBG)
  • Property Crushes Hedge Funds in Alternative Markets (BBG)
  • New aid gives Greece summer respite before showdown (Reuters)
  • Rajoy Punishes Exporters Sustaining Spain’s Economy (BBG)
  • U.S. Air Force sees no wrongdoing by Booz Allen in Snowden matter (Reuters)
  • Quebec town grapples with loss in train wreck aftermath (Reuters)


Overnight Media Digest


* A review of stock trades by corporate insiders before their companies filed for bankruptcy found the trading veering heavily toward selling instead of buying.

* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sought to reassure markets that while the Fed could start winding down bond buying later this year, officials aren't abandoning their broader commitment to easy-money policies.

* A rise in long-term interest rates is creating challenges and opportunities for the large U.S. banks as they struggle to overcome lackluster loan demand, a weak economy and a slew of new regulations that are crimping profits.

* Regulators are slapping brokerage firm Newedge USA with a record $9.5 million fine for failing to adequately police computer-driven trading clients that sought to manipulate markets for nearly four years.

* The liquidators of two Bear Stearns hedge funds sued the major credit-rating firms for allegedly misrepresenting the accuracy of their ratings.

* Apple Inc colluded with five major U.S. publishers to drive up the prices of e-books, a federal judge ruled Wednesday in a stern rebuke that threatens to limit the technology company's options when negotiating future content deals.

* Chinese Premier Li Keqiang repeated his commitment to steer clear of stimulus for the world's second-largest economy, even as the government reported contracting exports.

* A shift in consumer tastes to tablets continues to take its toll on the personal computer industry, with China's Lenovo Group Ltd emerging as sales leader in a shrinking market.

* Wal-Mart said it was scrapping plans to build three stores in Washington, D.C., after the city council passed a bill that would require big retailers to pay starting wages that are 50 percent higher than the city's minimum wage.

* Google is expected to allow its Motorola hardware unit to spend upward of $500 million to market the Moto X phone expected to be sold by the four largest wireless carriers this fall.

* Tribune plans to separate its broadcasting and publishing businesses into two companies, the latest U.S. media conglomerate to pursue to pursue a strategy of building focus around its more profitable TV business.



Business Secretary Vince Cable said Royal Mail's 150,000 employees in the UK would be eligible for a free 10 percent stake in the company, confirming the government would list a majority stake in the postal service this financial year.

Telecom executives have said proposed European Union laws that would abolish roaming charges and create a single European telecoms market would deny them 7 billion euros in such charges.

Executives at European banks that receive fresh state aid will no longer get seven-figure salaries as per new European Union rules that peg their pay to average wages.

A U.S. federal judge ruled that iPhone maker Apple Inc violated federal antitrust law by playing a central role in a conspiracy with publishers to raise e-book prices as it launched its digital books business.

Stephen Carter, a former head of media watchdog Ofcom, has been named chief executive of British business media group Informa Plc, replacing long-time CEO Peter Rigby, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Germany has criticised the European Commission for overstepping its legal powers over its plans to set up an agency to wind up euro zone banks.

Minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's most recent meeting showed a slowing of the central bank's bond-buying stimulus is still in the balance, with many policymakers wanting more gains in employment first.



* Although more Federal Reserve officials want the bond-buying program to end sooner, the central bank's Chairman, Ben Bernanke, said the overall policy would remain unchanged.

* A federal judge's antitrust finding against Apple Inc over e-book prices underscores how much the book industry has changed and bolsters the advantage held by online retailer Inc.

* More than seven months have passed since Australia imposed one of the world's toughest laws for tobacco warning labels. Although sales figures are not available to help determine the effectiveness the law, some smokers swear there has been a change in the tobacco.

* Myriad Genetics Inc, the company that once held patents on human genes, is suing competitors that have begun to offer genetic testing for breast cancer risk after the Supreme Court's ruling last month that human genes cannot be patented.

* The Tribune Co's decision to divide itself into separate broadcast and publishing companies may help avoid a big tax bill, but the split does not address the bigger problem facing newspaper executives: buyers just do not want to spend on print.

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Gap Inc, Target Corp , Kohl's Corp, Macy's Inc and a dozen other U.S. retailers are unveiling their alternative to a European-led plan to improve safety at apparel factories in Bangladesh.

* Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche Holdings AG has discontinued development of a potentially important diabetes drug, a move that could raise safety questions about the entire category of drugs, which includes the controversial medicine Avandia.

* After a rift, members of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have agreed on a plan to curb risky overseas trading as a Friday deadline approaches.

* The titans of the media and technology industries are flying into Sun Valley, Idaho, for the Allen & Co media conference, backing up traffic at the airport as they gather to discuss the next potential deal.

* The acquisition of America's largest pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc by Shuanghui International could result in the transfer of food-production technologies that endanger the United States economy and, perhaps, national security, two experts tell the Senate Agriculture Committee.

* Federal regulators lifted the advertising ban on private investments and voted to approve a rule that Congress included in last year's Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act. The new rule will fundamentally change the way that hedge funds, buyout firms and start-up companies raise money in the private marketplace.

* The top financial regulator in Massachusetts, William Galvin, has asked 15 brokerage firms, including Merrill Lynch & Co and LPL Financial, about the way they have marketed "high-risk, esoteric products" to older investors.

* The British government said on Wednesday that it planned to sell a majority stake in Royal Mail , the country's postal service, and would give some shares free to workers.




* U.S. railway executive Edward Burkhardt, at the center of Canada's most devastating derailment in decades, is casting partial blame on a company employee, saying he believes the engineer failed to apply some of the hand brakes in the hours before the unmanned freight train barreled into Lac-Mégantic, Quebec and exploded.

* British Columbia Premier Christy Clark will return to the legislature this summer, winning the Westside-Kelowna byelection in convincing fashion over NDP challenger Carole Gordon.

* Special prosecutor Peter Wilson is looking into laying charges connected to long-standing polygamous practices among residents of the rural British Columbia community of Bountiful. Possible charges include polygamy, sexual assault, sexual interference and parents or guardians procuring sexual activity.

Reports in the business section:

* A second straight week of dwindling U.S. crude inventories propelled oil prices to their highest in 16 months, pushing Canadian heavy crude prices to levels that are nearly double those seen when the government of Alberta warned of a C$6 billion ($5.71 billion) shortfall in energy revenue.

* Canada's banks are at risk of falling behind their global peers that are racing to better their standards. There are questions as to whether Canada's banks are too tied to the past.

* Railway executive Edward Burkhardt says he would like to see changes to rail safety regulations to prevent accidents like the one that devastated a small Quebec town.

* North American retailers unveiled a five-year safety plan for Bangladesh garment factories on Wednesday that would include inspecting within a year every factory they use, following tragedies such as April's deadly garment building collapse.


* The chairman of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway traveled Wednesday to the town where his train exploded on Saturday to face a combative press corps, enraged citizenry and serious questions from Sûreté du Québec detectives.

* An independent report by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, released Wednesday, directly contradicts evidence upon which the Supreme Court of Canada relied in setting free a Nova Scotia woman who attempted to hire hit-men to murder her husband.


* Regulators have approved a giant expansion of an oil sands project in Alberta proposed by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, but included an unprecedented list of warnings about the negative impacts on the environment and on Aboriginal communities.

* Mobilicity said on Wednesday it is in talks with "multiple parties" in hopes of a sale, a development the federal government would no doubt welcome as it promotes a policy for the wireless sector closely linked to drumming up greater competition.

* A recent analysis of some 600 product reviews on Lululemon Athletica Inc's website suggests many consumers are still displeased with the quality of the garments.




- China will likely relax rules that restrict real estate firms from raising funds from the domestic stock market.


- China's state-owned oil company Sinopec said it has received approval from securities regulators to issue 30 billion yuan ($4.89 billion) worth of convertible bonds.


- China's State Council has set a timetable for government officials to disclose their spending on receptions, vehicle purchases and overseas trips, in a bid to promote government transparency and curb corruption.


- China's exports are expected to maintain steady growth once external demand picks up, as the country's manufacturing sector still has a comparative advantage, according to an editorial.


Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



ADTRAN (ADTN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
AMD (AMD) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord
AMD (AMD) upgraded to Buy from Underperform at BofA/Merrill
Analog Devices (ADI) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Bridgepoint Education (BPI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Barrington
Brown & Brown (BRO) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Diamond Offshore (DO) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at BMO Capital
Finisar (FNSR) upgraded to Strong Buy from Buy at Needham
Hess Corp. (HES) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
KB Home (KBH) upgraded to Buy from Fair Value at CRT Capital
Lamar Advertising (LAMR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Linear Technology (LLTC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
MFA Financial (MFA) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore
Palo Alto (PANW) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Sprint (S) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Wisconsin Energy (WEC) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities


American Capital Agency (AGNC) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Evercore
Arkansas Best (ABFS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Atwood Oceanics (ATW) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Avago (AVGO) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Cliffs Natural (CLF) downgraded to Sector Underperformer  at CIBC
Ensco (ESV) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Family Dollar (FDO) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
Hatteras Financial (HTS) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Evercore
Inphi (IPHI) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Jive Software (JIVE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Lender Processing (LPS) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer
Marketo (MKTO) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at UBS
Mistras (MG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
New York Times (NYT) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
ON Semiconductor (ONNN) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
On Assignment (ASGN) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
SourceFire (FIRE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Sprint (S) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Transocean (RIG) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Wynn Resorts (WYNN) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley

Initiations (AMZN) initiated with a Positive at Susquehanna
BlackRock (BLK) initiated with an Overweight at Evercore
Bristow Group (BRS) initiated with a Market Perform at William Blair
Cimatron (CIMT) initiated with a Buy at Roth Capital
Concur (CNQR) initiated with a Neutral at JPMorgan
Cummins (CMI) initiated with a Buy at BB&T
Expedia (EXPE) initiated with a Neutral at Susquehanna
Facebook (FB) initiated with a Neutral at Susquehanna
Franklin Resources (BEN) initiated with an Equal Weight at Evercore
Google (GOOG) initiated with a Positive at Susquehanna
Liberty Global (LBTYA) reinstated with a Conviction Buy at Goldman
LinkedIn (LNKD) initiated with a Positive at Susquehanna
Macquarie Infrastructure (MIC) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
Orbitz (OWW) initiated with a Neutral at Susquehanna
Pandora (P) initiated with a Positive at Susquehanna
Sunshine Heart (SSH) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
T. Rowe Price (TROW) initiated with an Overweight at Evercore
TripAdvisor (TRIP) initiated with a Negative at Susquehanna
Volcano (VOLC) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
Yahoo (YHOO) initiated with a Neutral at Susquehanna
eBay (EBAY) initiated with a Positive at Susquehanna
lululemon (LULU) coverage resumed with a Hold at Jefferies (PCLN) initiated with a Positive at Susquehanna


T-Mobile (TMUS) CEO John Legere told CNBC he would talk to other companies about deals
Apollo Group (APLO): Sanction of 'Notice' on University of Phoenix could have adverse impact
Penn National (PENN) secured Nevada gaming control board approval
Yum! Brands (YUM) said FY14 expected to be 'strong bounce back year'
Intralinks Holdings (IL) said SEC terminated investigation, recommended no enforcement action
Gartner said worldwide PC shipments (MSFT, HPQ, DELL, LNVGY) fell 10.9% in Q2
Delta Apparel (DLA) to close Wendell, NC facility, cut 135 jobs, take $1.5M charge


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Texas Industries (TXI), DragonWave (DRWI), VOXX International (VOXX)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
SemiLEDs (LEDS), PriceSmart (PSMT)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
NovaGold (NG)


  • The rise in long-term interest rates since early May, stoked by comments from Fed Chairman Bernanke, is presenting challenges and opportunities for the largest U.S. banks as they struggle to overcome lackluster loan demand, a weak economy and a number of new regulations that are crimping profit, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • As Motorola (MSI) Mobility prepares to unveil its first flagship smartphone--Moto X--Google (GOOG) is expected to allow its Motorola hardware unit to spend several hundred million dollars to market the highly-anticipated device in the U.S. and some overseas markets, including in Europe, sources say, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The top U.S. derivatives regulator is within reach of a compromise over how its rules apply to foreign companies dealing with U.S. banks, sources say. Tomorrow is the last day the Commodity Trading Futures Commission can decide on the issue, as a broad temporary relief for foreign companies expires, Reuters reports
  • Executives of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in China confessed to charges of bribery and tax law violations after initial questioning by Chinese police, China's security ministry said today, Reuters reports
  • A judge’s ruling that Apple (AAPL) violated U.S. antitrust laws by colluding to increase e-book prices gives retailers such as Amazon (AMZN) additional flexibility to sell digital books more cheaply and gain market share, Bloomberg reports
  • Deutsche Bank (DB) made billions of dollars of loans to banks worldwide since 2008 and accounted for them in a way that obscured their continuing risk to investors. The bank managed to lend to firms from Brazil to Italy while making the transactions disappear from its balance sheet, even though it still is owed the money, sources say, Bloomberg reports


Gas Natural (EGAS) files to sell 850K shares of common stock
Merrimack (MACK) files to sell $50M in common stock; $75M in convertible senior notes
Oramed Pharmaceuticals (ORMP) to raise $4.6M in registered direct offering
Wheeler REIT (WHLR) files to sell 656,998 common shares for holders


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