Frontrunning: April 16

  • Ukraine Says Russia Exporting ‘Terror’ Amid Eastern Push (BBG)
  • Civil War Threat in Ukraine (Reuters)
  • China Shoe Plant Strike Disrupts Output at Nike, Adidas Supplier (BBG)
  • Mt Gox to liquidate (WSJ)
  • Ex-Co-Op Bank Chairman Charged With Cocaine Possession (BBG)
  • Credit Suisse first-quarter profit falls as trading tumbles (Reuters)
  • Goldman Sachs plans to jump-start stock-trading business (WSJ)
  • U.K. Unemployment Rate Falls to Five-Year Low (BBG)
  • Lawmakers Back High-Frequency Trade Curbs in EU Markets Law (BBG)
  • Yahoo's growth anemic as turnaround chugs along (Reuters)
  • Spain ETF Grows as Rajoy Attracts Record U.S. Investments (BBG)
  • Obama to Announce Targeted Job-Training Initiatives (WSJ)
  • Italian Banks Seen Selling About $69 Billion of Bad Loans (BBG)
  • Hollywood ending assured: Euro Periphery Emerges as Haven as Bonds Rise Amid Ukraine Feud (BBG)



Overnight Media Digest


* Under pressure from unhappy clients and losing market share to rivals, Goldman Sachs Group Inc is trying to jump-start its stock-trading business. At recent trading conferences with top clients, including Fidelity Investments and BlackRock Inc< BLK.N>, and in private conversations, investors have vented their concerns with the way Goldman and other firms trade stocks, people familiar with the matter said. (

* Credit Suisse Group AG said Wednesday that first-quarter profit fell to 859 million Swiss francs ($976.91 million) from the 1.3 billion Swiss francs ($1.48 billion) it reported for the same period a year earlier as net revenue fell 8 percent to 6.47 billion Swiss francs ($7.36 billion).

* Defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has given up its plan to rebuild under bankruptcy protection and has asked a Tokyo court to allow it to be liquidated, people familiar with the situation said. (

* Online food-delivery company Seamless will revamp its fee structure after an investigation by New York state's attorney general found that restaurants could cheat delivery workers out of tips, officials said Tuesday. (

* The Royal Bank of Canada is planning to close one of the last proprietary-trading desks on Wall Street, another win for regulators that have pushed banks to cut back on making big bets with their own money. (

* Federal regulators plan to set aside a portion of choice spectrum for smaller wireless carriers at an auction of TV airwaves scheduled for next year. According to people familiar with the matter, the Federal Communications Commission plans to reserve a portion of that spectrum to prevent the two largest wireless carriers from purchasing it all. (

* Google Inc is planning a "modular" smartphone that consumers can configure with different features, executives said on Tuesday. Google envisions hardware modules, such as a camera or blood-sugar monitor, that would be available in an "app store," like its own Google Play store for software applications. ( ($1 = 0.8793 Swiss Francs)



Ukrainian forces launched a special operation on Tuesday to dislodge separatist militia in the Russian-speaking east, authorities said.

European lawmakers adopted a slew of landmark reforms on Tuesday designed to make banks safer and financial markets more transparent.

Belgium has gone past countries such as the UK and Switzerland as well as major oil-exporting nations to become one of the major holders of U.S. government debt.

New York state's top financial regulator has ordered Credit Suisse to turn over employment records of its former New York head as part of a widening investigation into potential tax evasion involving the Swiss bank.

Shareholders in Barclays, miffed the with bank's pay policies, plan to register a significant protest despite welcoming the appointment of a new remuneration committee chairman.

The Co-operative Group is facing pressure to adopt a watered-down version of radical reforms proposed by Lord Myners to turnaround the troubled British mutual.


* Detroit's pension boards and a retirees' group say they have reached tentative agreements with the city that could serve as a breakthrough in its quest to settle with its major creditors and propel itself out of bankruptcy before the end of the year. (

* CTIA, the industry trade group that represents wireless carriers, said over a dozen companies, including Apple, AT&T, Google, Samsung Electronics and Verizon Wireless, had committed to offering free antitheft software for cellphones at the beginning of next year. Lawmakers like George Gascon, San Francisco's district attorney, and Eric Schneiderman, New York's attorney general, on Tuesday released a joint statement saying the trade group's commitment was not a complete solution. (

* Investors were already salivating over the initial stock offering of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group. On Tuesday, they got a glimpse of its tremendous growth that is sure to whet their appetite even more. Alibaba made $1.4 billion in profit for its fourth quarter, more than double the amount it made during the same period a year earlier. Revenue jumped 66 percent, to nearly $3.1 billion. (

* In her first public appearance since enduring withering criticism at congressional hearings two weeks ago, General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra told an audience of auto executives and dealers that the company was delivering parts and starting to fix the 2.6 million small cars it has recalled for faulty ignition switches that it has linked to 13 deaths. (

* A crucial part of Wall Street still keeps federal regulators up at night. But Janet Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, said on Tuesday that the Fed was actively considering measures to strengthen that potential weak spot. Yellen said that despite an onslaught of new bank regulations, risks remained in the markets where Wall Street firms and other entities lend and borrow hundreds of billions of dollars for short periods. (

* A laboratory study presented early this year reported that the nicotine-laced vapor generated by an electronic cigarette promoted the development of cancer in certain types of human cells much in the same way that tobacco smoke does. Researchers involved in the little-noticed study emphasized that their findings were preliminary and that the study did not involve people but specially treated human lung cells. (




* Calgary police allege Matthew de Grood, 22-year-old son of a senior Calgary police officer, walked into a house party full of university students raising toasts to the end of the school year, grabbed a large kitchen knife and stabbed five of them repeatedly. (

* Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will deliver a very personal eulogy for former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who died last week, that he wrote himself as he bids goodbye to the man who steered his government's finances through rough waters. (

Reports in the business section:

* On the lookout for business opportunities where rivals such as Apple Inc and Google Inc have not yet dominated, BlackBerry Ltd is making a push into health care. The Canadian smartphone maker announced on Tuesday it is purchasing a minority stake in California-based health care firm NantHealth. (


* The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will not lay criminal charges against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, over his controversial C$90,000 payment to Senator Mike Duffy. (

* The Canadian Prime Minister's Office is emphatically denying a former adviser's allegation that Stephen Harper is subject to bouts of depression that leave him incapable of making decisions. Former Conservative Party strategist Tom Flanagan makes the claim in an excerpt from a forthcoming book. (


* Canadian financier Prem Watsa is cashing in by investing where many others fear to tread, betting on two of Europe's most beleaguered economies Ireland and Greece as they recover post-bailout, and tripling down on the latter. (

* The head of Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown energy company says costs for the C$7.7-billion Muskrat Falls hydro project are going up and the date when first power is generated from the dam may be delayed. (




- China Financial Futures Exchange said it would accelerate the launch of stock index options, which would be based on an index of the 300 largest companies on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.


- Land prices rose 1.89 percent on a quarter-on-quarter basis in the first quarter, 0.17 percentage points lower than the fourth quarter of 2013 and the slowest growth in the last seven quarters, according to figures published by the China Land Surveying and Planning Institute, a research institute under the Ministry of Land Resources.


- China's 'Big 4' banks suffered deposit outflows worth 1.9 billion yuan ($305.4 million) in the first two weeks of April, unnamed bank sources told the newspaper.


- Executives from U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc will visit China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) next week to discuss potential cooperation to establish vehicle-charging facilities, an insider with the Chinese company told China Daily on Tuesday.


- House prices in Macao have risen by 10 times over the past decade in Macao, raising concerns of a real estate bubble, the newspaper said.


The Times


Britain is experiencing the longest run of falling inflation for more than two decades after the annual rate of consumer price inflation dropped from 1.7 percent in February to 1.6 percent last month. I


The former boss of the collapsed retailer JJB Sports had racked up large debts "possibly due to gambling" before he borrowed 3 million pounds from two of his closest rivals, a court heard.

The Telegraph


The chief executive of Debenhams has claimed he does not know why Mike Ashley, the sportswear tycoon, bought a stake in the department store retailer.

DIAGEO IN 1.1-BLN-STG TENDER OFFER FOR UNITED SPIRITS SHARES Diageo, the world's largest spirits maker, could end up with 54.8 percent of leading Indian spirits group.

The Guardian

NOTTINGHAM CIGARETTE FACTORY CLOSURE THREATENS MORE THAN 500 JOBS Closure of Imperial's last factory and distribution hub will put an end to cigarette manufacturing in mainland Britain.

INFLATION FALLS TO 1.6 PCT, THE LOWEST SINCE OCTOBER 2009 News comes a day before labour market figures are expected to confirm that wage growth has finally overtaken inflation.


Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot

Domestic economic reports scheduled today include:
Housing starts for March at 8:30--consensus up 7.0% to 965K rate
Housing permits for March at 8:30--consensus down 0.4% to 1.01M rate
Industrial production for March at 9:15--consensus up 0.5% for the month



Apollo Investment (AINV) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Control4 (CTRL) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James
Cree (CREE) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Needham
Family Dollar (FDO) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee
First Security (FSGI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Genuine Parts (GPC) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
Greenhill & Co. (GHL) upgraded to Neutral from Reduce at Nomura
Lincoln National (LNC) upgraded to Overweight from Equalweight at Barclays
Nimble Storage (NMBL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Piedmont Office Realty (PDM) upgraded to Market Perform at BMO Capital
Precision Drilling (PDS) upgraded to Overweight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley
Santander Consumer USA (SC) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
SouFun (SFUN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Time Warner Cable (TWC) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Twitter (TWTR) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee
United Natural Foods (UNFI) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Volvo (VOLVY) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Deutsche Bank
WhiteHorse Finance (WHF) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Xoom (XOOM) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Evercore
Yahoo (YHOO) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Yelp (YELP) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Zebra Technologies (ZBRA) upgraded to Outperform from In-Line at Imperial Capital


Compressco (GSJK) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
Fidelity & Guaranty Life (FGL) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie
Intel (INTC) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley
Motorola Solutions (MSI) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Nomura
NetApp (NTAP) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Reinsurance Group (RGA) downgraded to Equalweight from Overweight at Barclays
Superior Energy (SPN) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley
UnitedHealth (UNH) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup


A10 Networks (ATEN) initiated with a Buy at BofA/Merrill
A10 Networks (ATEN) initiated with an Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
A10 Networks (ATEN) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
A10 Networks (ATEN) initiated with an Outperform at Pacific Crest
A10 Networks (ATEN) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Centene (CNC) initiated with a Neutral at UBS
FS Investment (FSIC) initiated with an Overweight at Evercore
ImmunoGen (IMGN) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
Laredo Petroleum (LPI) initiated with an Outperform at RW Baird
Lpath (LPTN) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
MediWound (MDWD) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
Medivation (MDVN) initiated with a Hold at Canaccord
NPS Pharmaceuticals (NPSP) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
Nimble Storage (NMBL) initiated with a Market Perform at Raymond James
Regeneron (REGN) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
Sibanye Gold (SBGL) initiated with an Outperform at Imperial Capital

Credit Suisse (CS) said making progress in resolving litigation issues
Sony (SNE), Hydro-Quebec formed JV for large-scale energy storage system for power grids
NBCUniversal (CMCSA, CMCSK) planning digital video push
Zogenix (ZGNX) confirmed that a U.S. District Court judge prevented the ban on sales of the company's Zohydro pain medication in Massachusetts
Intel (INTC) said it expects FY14 revenue to be roughly flat when compared to the prior year
Yahoo (YHOO), which reported Q1 profit and sales that beat expectations, said Q4 revenue at Alibaba, the Chinese group of e-commerce sites in which Yahoo has a 24% stake, increased 66% year-over-year to $3.06B. Yahoo said moving from declining growth to 'stable to modest' growth
CSX (CSX) CEO seeing 'good strength in economy'

Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
PNC Financial (PNC), ADTRAN (ADTN), Linear Technology (LLTC), Interactive Brokers (IBKR), Yahoo (YHOO), Wintrust Financial (WTFC), CSX (CSX), Intel (INTC)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Marten Transport (MRTN)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Huntington Bancshares (HBAN)


Goldman Sachs (GS) tries to jump start stock-trading business amid concerns, WSJ says
Ford (F) could replace MyFord Touch, Detroit News says
Sony (SNE) looks to revive TV business with 4K technology, Nikkei reports
Martha Stewart (MSO) back in court on pet products suit, Reuters says
CONMED (CNMD) exploring sale of company, Reuters reports
GM (GM) CEO says recalled cars being fixed, NY Times reports
Telefonica (TEF), Blackstone (BX) to form Axonix mobile-advertising venture, WSJ reports
Samsung (SSNLF), Sony Mobile (SNE), HTC to release mini smartphone models, DigiTimes says

Athlon Energy (ATHL) announces public offering of 11M shares of common stock
Moelis (MC) 6.5M share IPO priced at $25.00
OpusBank (OPB) 5.126M share IPO priced at $30.00
TriVascular Technologies (TRIV) 6.5M share IPO priced at $12.00