Frontrunning: April 7

  • The counter-HFT-attack begins with first target - dark pools: Dark markets may be more harmful than high-frequency trading (Reuters)
  • Malaysia Jet Team Hears Pings Consistent With Black Box (BBG)
  • At Toyota as Humans Steal Jobs From Robots (BBG)
  • ‘Reverse Auctions’ Draw Scrutiny (NYT)
  • Death knell sounds for Brazil’s economic strategy (FT)
  • Technology Traders Head for the Exit as Put Trades Surge (BBG)
  • NSA Uses Corporate News to Spread Propaganda and Silence Dissent (TruthDig)
  • Holcim, Lafarge agree to merger to create cement giant (Reuters)
  • Any minute now: Investment Jump Seen From Macy’s to Berkshire After 2013 Fizzle (BBG)
  • India kicks off world's biggest election in remote northeast (Reuters)
  • Singapore Urges Companies to Exploit China Consumer Boom (BBG)
  • Credit Suisse Is Said to Be Facing Double-Barreled Inquiries (NYT)
  • #OpIsrael: Anonymous attacks hundreds of Israeli websites (RT)


Overnight Media Digest


* Yahoo Inc is raising its ambitions in online video, with plans to acquire the kind of original programming that typically winds up on high-end cable-TV networks and streaming services like Netflix Inc, people briefed on the company's plans said. (

* The world's top two cement makers are betting their merger plans are not going to run into an antitrust wall. France's Lafarge SA and Switzerland's Holcim Ltd plan to put $8 billion of assets around the world up for sale in a bid to secure antitrust clearance for their merger, a person familiar with the matter said. (

* General Motors Co executives huddled last week with newly hired adviser Kenneth Feinberg to consider potential ways to compensate victims of an ignition-switch defect linked to at least 13 deaths. But that effort raises a vexing question: Who gets the money? (

* BlackRock Inc took a big step toward picking a successor to co-founder and Chief Executive Laurence Fink on Sunday, announcing a reshuffling of the management ranks that will elevate a number of executives to prominent roles at the world's largest asset-management firm. (

* The strongest Asian contender for a global apparel brand such as Zara or Gap Inc is Japan's Fast Retailing Co Ltd , operator of the Uniqlo chain and Asia's biggest clothing maker in terms of revenue, which has ambitious plans to be No. 1 world-wide in six years. (

* GlaxoSmithKline Plc is investigating allegations of bribery by employees in the Middle East, according to emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, opening a new front for the company as it manages a separate corruption probe in China. (



A 1,000-person poll shows that only a quarter plan to use savings to buy annuities upon retirement after the Chancellor unveiled pension reforms in the Budget.

A stand-off between Ukraine and Russian oil major Gazprom OAO over a $2.2-billion bill payment by the Ukrainian government continues with no progress in talks over the weekend. The deadline for the payment is Monday.

Cement titans Holcim and Lafarge SA will announce Monday their plans to sell production facilities worth about $5 billion in an attempt to offset regulatory hurdles that their proposed merger may face.

Belgium will relax planned curbs on subsidies for clean energy pushed by intense pressure from the Merkel-led Berlin government such that a refreshed German renewables law could be brought forward ahead of the European Unions guidelines.

The UK car industry is set to get a further boost by the launch of three new versions of the BMW Mini scheduled to be launched over the next five years, according to people with knowledge of the plans.



* The U.S. Justice Department is considering a deferred-prosecution agreement against Credit Suisse on charges of hiding American wealth offshore. The Zurich-based financial services company may have to pay more than $780 million in cash to suspend any indictment. The Justice Department is also pushing for a guilty plea from a Credit Suisse subsidiary. (

* British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said on Sunday it was investigating claims of improper conduct related to its business in Iraq, less than a year after China accused Glaxo of engaging in a bribery scheme aimed at increasing drug sales there. (

* Deals for everything from pens to pesticides, from painting offices to performing autopsies - all that and more is up for grabs on FedBid, a fast-growing private company that has positioned itself at the profitable nexus of government and business. Through FedBid, government agencies use "reverse auctions" - in which the lowest bid wins, rather than the highest - to decide who is awarded contracts.

* Many "momentum" stocks such as Tesla Motors Inc, NXP Semiconductors NV and Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc , those that had drawn buyers because of their ascending trajectories, ran out of steam on Friday. The unprecedented selling signals a potential shift in investors' belief in chasing eye-popping growth. (

* Researchers say a new type of drug can help prevent advanced breast cancer from worsening, potentially providing an important new treatment option for women and a blockbuster product for Pfizer Inc. In a clinical trial, the drug cut in half the risk that cancer would worsen, or progress, researchers said on Sunday. (

* Jonathan Grayer, chairman and chief executive of education services company Weld North, plans to announce on Monday that the company has acquired two digital learning businesses that will help expand it into English-language education and school management. Weld North is paying more than $150 million for Imagine Learning and Truenorthlogic. (

* The Toledo Blade newspaper has filed a lawsuit against six government officials, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, claiming that two of its journalists were detained unlawfully while taking pictures outside a tank plant in Lima, Ohio. (




* After a bitter election campaign that was turned on its head by the question of sovereignty, Quebeckers will be voting Monday for the second time in 18 months to decide which party should lead the province. (

* Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak says he will not back down after being slapped with a libel notice from Premier Kathleen Wynne over accusations she was behind an alleged plan to destroy documents in the gas plants scandal. (

Reports in the business section:

* Multinational companies are bracing for sweeping changes to the way countries tax them and gather data as Canada and other developed countries join in a global corporate tax crackdown. (


* As Quebec's election campaign entered its final weekend, Premier Pauline Marois of the Parti Quebecois said she regrets that she allowed herself to get bogged down in the sovereignty issue. (

* In a prelude to next year's federal election, New Democratic Party leader Tom Mulcair has issued a scathing indictment of Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau - warning Canadians that Trudeau will never understand the middle class and will abandon his promised "progressive values" the moment he comes to power. (


* Theatre company Livent Inc's former auditor, Deloitte & Touche LLP, has been ordered to pay damages of $85.6 million to the company's creditors after an Ontario judge ruled the accounting firm failed to detect fraud at the company, even though there were plenty of warning signs. (



The Telegraph



Caffe Nero, Britain's third-largest coffee shop chain, is to create 1,700 jobs in the UK over the next five years with the opening of another 225 outlets, its founder and chief executive has revealed.



Chancellor George Osborne will claim fresh vindication for his economic plan this week as the International Monetary Fund is expected to revise its forecasts for the British economy upwards.

The Guardian



Energy complaints in the first quarter of 2014 more than tripled compared to the same period last year to their highest level ever recorded, the energy sector's ombudsman said on Monday.



The Burberry boss Angela Ahrendts is to be awarded one of Britain's highest honours for helping making the fashion company a top global luxury brand, with revenues of 2 billion pounds in 2013.

The Times



The finance chiefs of Britain's biggest companies are at their most bullish for six and a half years, raising hopes that the country is on the threshold of a dramatic take-off in business investment.



The Takeover Panel is understood to be putting the finishing touches to a report into the listing, which saw tycoon Nat Rothschild merge cash shell Vallar with Indonesian coalmines owned by the billionaire Bakrie brothers. The Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Conduct Authority have also launched inquiries.

The Independent



Influential MPs are privately warning for criticism of Martin Wheatley, the head of one of the two City regulators, to be toned down so as to avoid yet more financial instability.



Britain's banks will have to spend billions overhauling their creaking IT systems over the next few years, according to chief executive of the Prudential Regulation Authority.



Ministry of Defence officials have again been forced to overhaul their plans to enlist commercial know-how to the management of the 14 billion pound-budget agency that buys military equipment.



Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot


Domestic economic reports scheduled today include:
Consumer credit for February at 3:00 pm ET--consensus $14.0B.



Agios Pharmaceuticals (AGIO) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Alcoa (AA) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Deutsche Bank
Align Technology (ALGN) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Barrington
Analog Devices (ADI) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
B&G Foods (BGS) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Citigroup (C) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at HSBC
Intel (INTC) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Pacific Crest
JetBlue (JBLU) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
Kindred Healthcare (KND) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Lafarge (LFRGY) upgraded to Outperform from Underperform at Exane BNP Paribas
Lennox (LII) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Newmont Mining (NEM) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Deutsche Bank
PBF Energy (PBF) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Renasant (RNST) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Rocket Fuel (FUEL) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Select Medical (SEM) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Tencent (TCEHY) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Macquarie
Ultra Petroleum (UPL) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Under Armour (UA) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee
Willis Group (WSH) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee


American Eagle (AEO) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Cowen
Ann Inc. (ANN) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer
Avago (AVGO) downgraded to Buy from Conviction Buy at Goldman
Conversant (CNVR) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Kennametal (KMT) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Mattel (MAT) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) downgraded to Underweight at JPMorgan
Rowan (RDC) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Statoil (STO) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman


Achaogen (AKAO) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
American Airlines (AAL) initiated with a Buy at Goldman
Cresud SA (CRESY) initiated with an Overweight at Morgan Stanley
IRSA initiated with an Overweight at Morgan Stanley
Marchex (MCHX) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Trulia (TRLA) initiated with an Equalweight at Barclays


Holcim, Lafarge (LFRGY) confirmed intention to combine via merger of equals
Baker Hughes (BHI) reported March international rig count up 4 to 1,345
Lenovo (LNVGY) to acquire mobile patents from NEC Corporation
Roche (RHHBY) acquired IQuum for $450M
Pfizer (PFE) said palbociclib significantly prolonged PFS in metastatic breast cancer
Vivendi (VIVHY) selected the Altice/Numericable offer for SFR


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG)


HP (HPQ) could rise 20%, Barron's says
Anadarko (APC) rally may not be over, Barron's reports
BE Aerospace (BEAV) could climb another 25% in a year, Barron's says
Vodafone (VOD) has upside over 20%, Barron's says
United Technologies (UTX) shares could climb another 10%, Barron's says
Qualcomm (QCOM) looks like a deal, Barron's says
Yahoo (YHOO) plans to acquire bigger budget TV programming, WSJ says
Microsoft (MSFT) pushes for programming to rival Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), Bloomberg says
Apple's (AAPL) sales force worried about iPhone outlook, Re/code says
U.S. says ending Boeing (BA) fighter jet line won't damage suppliers, Reuters says 
Judge does not issue 'stop drive order' for faulty GM (GM) vehicles, Reuters says
GM's (GM) Opel brand planning compact electric car by 2017, Reuters says
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) investigates bribery allegations in Iraq, WSJ says


Activision Blizzard (ATVI) files to sell 41.5M shares for holders
Google (GOOG) files automatic mixed securities shelf
Molycorp (MCP) files to sell 23.82M common shares for holders
Weibo (WB) files 20M share initial public offering


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