Frontrunning: May 8

  • China’s Trade Unexpectedly Rises (BBG)
  • 'We're already not in Ukraine' - rebel east readies secession vote (Reuters)
  • Vietnam’s Stocks Post Biggest Loss in Decade on China Tensions (BBG)
  • Pro-Russian Separatists in Ukraine Reject Putin's Call to Delay Vote (WSJ)
  • Hedge Funds Extend Their Slide (WSJ)
  • Carney Looks to Untested Tools as House Prices Boom (BBG)
  • New Draghi Era Seen on Hold at ECB as Euro Area Recovers (BBG)
  • Woman With Printer Shows the Digital Ease of Bogus Cash (BBG)
  • Regulators See Growing Financial Risks Outside Traditional Banks (WSJ)
  • Toyota Hits Operating Profit High (WSJ)
  • U.S. Expresses Concern Over China-Vietnam Tension (WSJ)
  • White House threatens veto in clash over R&D tax credit (FT)
  • Japan must look abroad to fill labor gap: commerce chairman (Nikkei)
  • Barclays to Cut 7,000 Jobs at Investment Bank by 2016 (BBG)
  • Son Makes $58 Billion on Alibaba With Buffett-Type Return (BBG)
  • Thai political turmoil putting damper on economic growth (Nikkei)


Overnight Media Digest


* Vladimir Putin softened his attacks on a presidential election and said his troops had withdrawn from the border, but the United States dismissed the changed tone as insufficient. (

* Strains between China and its neighbors burst to the surface in two parts of the South China Sea, taking the high-stakes struggle for control over the waters to new levels of friction. (

* Libyan investigators pursuing former officials' wealth believe the family of Ali Dabaiba, who ran a state agency under Gadhafi, put some of its money into the high-end London real-estate firm Chesterton Humberts. (

* Pizza makers are paying serious dough for the seal of approval from a non-profit group founded in Naples, Italy, to "promote and protect ... true Neapolitan pizza." The association's aims are similar to groups that safeguard everything from French sparkling wine to Italian cheese. But the goals differ in that the pizza people say that "true" pizza can come from anywhere as long as it is made according to the "traditional methods" and conforms to an exacting series of standards. (

* Fed chief Janet Yellen offered a mostly upbeat economic outlook but signaled that her broad optimism has not altered the central bank's plan to keep short-term interest rates near zero for the foreseeable future. In testimony before Congress's Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday, Yellen said the economy was on track for "solid growth" in the current quarter after a harsh winter, but she held out housing as a potentially more lasting problem. (

* FedEx Corp is changing the way it charges to ship bulky packages, jolting e-commerce companies with price increases for delivering items as diverse as diapers, shoes and paper towels. Instead of charging by weight alone, all ground packages will now be priced according to size. In effect, that will mean a price increase on more than a third of its U.S. ground shipments. (

* A bumpy trading environment is tripping up hedge funds. Big stumbles by some star managers drove hedge funds to back-to-back monthly declines for the first time in two years, according to researcher HFR Inc. (

* Two large consumer debt-buying firms have agreed to halt lawsuits against borrowers and to pay fines under separate settlements with New York's attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who alleged that Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc and Sherman Financial Group violated New York law by seeking court judgments against consumers even when the statute of limitations on the claims had expired. (

* DirecTV is working with advisers including Goldman Sachs Group Inc to evaluate a possible combination with AT&T Inc , a sign the satellite broadcaster is seriously considering a deal with the telecom giant. (



Pro-Russia groups in eastern Ukraine were called upon to postpone a planned referendum on independence by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, fuelling hopes of an easing of the crisis that has threatened to tear the country apart.

Plans to cut several thousands more jobs will be unveiled by Barclays as it announces the creation of a bad bank to house much of its investment bank and continental European retail operations. The job cuts will be in addition to the 12,000 already announced earlier.

Pfizer has been told by David Cameron that the British government wants stronger assurances of the drugs giant's commitment to UK science even as he left open the option of extending government powers to intervene in the U.S. drugmaker's 63 billion pound takeover approach for AstraZeneca .

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has warned in testimony to Congress that the U.S. housing market slowdown poses a fresh risk to growth in the world's largest economy.



* The Federal Department of Transportation said on Wednesday that railroads would be required to notify local emergency responders whenever oil shipments traveled through their states. The order follows a spate of accidents that have raised concerns about the safety of trains that carry increasing amounts of crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota across the United States. (

* Janet L. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, told Congress on Wednesday that the economy was growing at a decent rate and that the Fed intended to continue the stimulus campaign that it considered at least partly responsible. The economy, she said, is shaking off a grim winter and the labor market is slowly improving. (

* Some private investors are betting that reverse mortgages, an investment product aimed at older people in need of cash, will make a resurgence as more homeowners reach retirement age in the coming years. New Jersey-based reverse mortgage start-up Reverse Mortgage Investment Trust has raised about $230 million in a private offering. Investors in the private sale of shares included hedge funds, wealthy individual investors and customers of the investment firm. (

* One of Goldman Sachs Group's most notable investment vehicles, Petershill, has been less than extraordinary. So when Goldman started a second version of Petershill, which buys stakes in big-name hedge funds, it came as a surprise to people in the industry. Goldman says it is satisfied with the pace of fund-raising, but investors do not appear to be flocking to the new fund as quickly as they did to the first one. (

* A Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission called on the agency's Chairman to delay a proposal for new net neutrality rules. Jessica Rosenworcel, one of three Democrats on the five-member commission, said a delay was warranted because of a "torrent of public response" to the idea that the commission's rules might create a fast lane on the Internet for companies willing to pay for it. (

* Financial Stability Oversight Council in its annual report to the Congress said weaknesses that contributed to the disastrous 2008 financial crisis persist today. The report, released on Wednesday, highlights what it called considerable progress collectively made to improve the strength and resilience of the financial sector. (

* Bank of America executives and board members faced pointed questions from shareholders on Wednesday about a costly error in the way the bank calculated its financial health. The bank disclosed on April 28 that it had made a significant error in the way it calculates a crucial measure of its financial health. (

* Tesla Motors Inc reported on Wednesday that it lost $49.8 million in the first quarter as the electric carmaker accelerated the development of its new crossover vehicle and made improvements to its Model S sedan. The company also said California was now in the running for a $5 billion battery factory it plans to build. Previously, the company was considering only Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Nevada for the factory. (

* Washington law firm Patton Boggs dropped out of an effort to force Chevron Corp to pay $9.5 billion in an Ecuadorean pollution judgment on Wednesday, expressing regrets for its involvement in the case and agreeing to pay the oil company $15 million in settlement payments. (

* AOL Inc said that its profit dropped to $9.3 million, or 11 cents per share, from $25.9 million a year earlier. AOL's stock plummeted more than 20 percent after the company reported that, while revenue was up 8 percent in the first quarter, net income fell 64 percent because of restructuring and other charges. (

* The long-promised potential of offshore wind development along American coastlines took a step toward fruition on Wednesday as the Department of Energy pledged up to $47 million each to three projects it previously supported. The grants are intended to help the projects, off the coasts of New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia, begin delivering electricity by 2017. (




* The chairman of Canada's largest school board directed tens of thousands of dollars intended for a Toronto elementary school to his own charity, according to confidential reviews of spending during his tenure as principal. (

* The Prime Minister's Office advised Justice Marc Nadon that he could resign from the Federal Court of Appeal and become a member of the Quebec bar to ensure his eligibility for the Supreme Court, according to a media report. The report cited unnamed sources who said Justice Nadon was warned by the PMO about a possible problem with appointing him to fill a vacant Quebec seat at the Supreme Court. (

Reports in the business section:

* The bankruptcy of fashion retailer Boutique Jacob Inc may put landlords in the difficult position of being unable to fill the insolvent chain's 92 empty stores. U.S. retailers are more reluctant to set up shop in Canada than they were in the past five years as they start to enjoy a resurgence in business on their home turf. (


* Prime Minister Stephen Harper reportedly suggested to Federal Court judge Justice Marc Nadon to go back to Quebec to practise law for a while. In March, the Supreme Court blocked Nadon from joining their ranks because he was not a practicing Quebec lawyer. (

* A Somali described as a "person-of-interest" to the Federal Bureau of Investigation is being held in Manitoba after he and another man walked across the border from Minnesota and were captured by Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers. The Canada Border Services Agency is conducting its own investigation into whether he should be deported under a section of the immigration law that applies to those engaged in terrorism, espionage and subversion. (


* The Canadian government has decided to intervene in a court case to argue that new rules for the country's wireless providers should be retroactive. Industry Minister James Moore has requested that the attorney general act as an intervener in the case at the Federal Court of Appeal. Canada's biggest wireless operators have sought legal recourse against a new wireless code introduced in June 2013 by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. (

* Google Canada's managing director, Chris O'Neill, is returning to the search giant's Mountain View headquarters to take over business operations for the company's Google Glass project. Prior to joining Google Canada in 2010, O'Neill led Google's retail industry vertical in the United States. (




- The IPO applications of another three companies have been approved by China's securities regulator, brining the total number of approved IPOs since China resumed approvals in April to six.


- New index futures trade based on local stock indexes, SSE50 and CSI500, are expected to be launched shortly once regulators complete the necessary approvals, sources told the paper.


- The China Securities Regulatory Commission requires IPO underwriters including Everbright Securities Co Ltd and Haitong Securities Co Ltd to submit the first batch of IPO issuance plans by Wednesday, people familiar with the issue told the paper.


- China's tax officials said new tax breaks this year will help more than 2 million small and micro firms halve their tax bills. TO enjoy a 50 percent cut in business taxes, these firms will no longer need approval from tax authorities but only have to report to tax agencies, said an official from the State Administration of Taxation.


- More crowdfunding platforms are springing up to support entrepreneurs, but analysts warn that investor protection needs improvement. China's crowdfunding market could reach $46 billion to $50 billion by 2025, and the market for all developing countries could be $96 billion by then, according to the World Bank.


- The essence of the religious extremism in China's western province of Xinjiang is violence and ethnic hatred. The Chinese government and the Communist Party will make great efforts to tackle this challenge and reconstruct national solidarity and social stability in Xinjiang, the paper said in an editorial.


The Telegraph


Former BP chief Tony Hayward is to be named as chairman of Glencore Xstrata following a year-long search to replace Sir John Bond. Hayward, who has been interim chairman since last May, is likely to step down from his role as chief executive of Genel Energy within a year or two as a result of the new appointment. (


The Co-operative Group has been told that unless it undertakes radical reforms "very soon" it risks heading down a road that could end with the complete dismantlement of Britain's largest mutual into a charitable foundation that would be worth "a lot less" than members think. (

The Guardian


Barclays will announce on Thursday that it is cutting up to 8,000 investment banking roles - almost a third of the division's workforce - as it retreats from one of the most controversial parts of its business. (


British appetite for new cars surged ahead in April, as a rosy outlook for the UK economy triggered an upwardly revised sales forecast in 2014. New car registrations rose 8.2 percent last month, to 176,820 vehicles, marking the 26th month of rising sales. (

The Times


First-time buyers will need permanent help from the state to get on to the housing ladder once interest rates start to rise, putting pressure on the government to keep subsidy schemes designed to lift Britain out of recession in place, a leading economic consultancy said. (


Former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan is to call on British financial regulators to investigate a "super racket" of money transfer companies that rip off poor migrants who send cash to their families in Africa. (

The Independent


The potential deal between AstraZeneca and Pfizer has been championed by the Conservatives but the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said he would not rule out intervention if the U.S. giant fails to produce "binding" promises to protect jobs and scientific research. (

Sky News


Barclays will detail plans on Thursday to cut approximately 20,000 jobs by the end of 2016 as the bank's chief executive steps up his efforts to tackle its bloated cost base. (


A private equity firm which counts a former government minister among its executives is in talks to buy a stake in the Co-op's banking arm as part of its 400 million pound rescue fundraising. (


Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot


Domestic economic reports scheduled today include:

Jobless claims for week of May 3 at 8:30--consensus 330K



AB InBev (BUD) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
AmREIT (AMRE) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Calumet Specialty Products (CLMT) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Fossil (FOSL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
J.M. Smucker (SJM) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
McGrath RentCorp (MGRC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc
Numerex (NMRX) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord
OGE Energy (OGE) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Planar Systems (PLNR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital
SanDisk (SNDK) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James
SolarCity (SCTY) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Sonic (SONC) upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
Twitter (TWTR) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley
Yelp (YELP) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley


Diamondback Energy (FANG) assumed with a Hold from Buy at Brean Capital
Duke Energy (DUK) downgraded to Equalweight from Overweight at Barclays
Extra Space Storage (EXR) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
FedEx (FDX) downgraded to Equalweight from Overweight at Barclays
Gulfport Energy (GPOR) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
HollyFrontier (HFC) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie
Merck (MRK) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Millennial Media (MM) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer
Millennial Media (MM) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
ONEOK (OKE) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Penn National (PENN) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Provident Financial (PROV) downgraded to Underperform at Raymond James
Public Storage (PSA) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
SPX Corp. (SPW) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Sanderson Farms (SAFM) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Western Gas Equity (WGP) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse


Ampio (AMPE) initiated with a Buy at Citigroup
Dominion Diamond (DDC) initiated with an Equalweight at Barclays
PDC Energy (PDCE) assumed with a Buy at Brean Capital
Warren Resources (WRES) assumed with a Buy at Brean Capital


Barclays (BCS) increased its 2014 headcount reduction target to 14,000. The bank will reduce gross headcount in its investment bank by around 7,000 by 2016
Ford (F) announced a $1.8B share repurchase program
Tesla (TSLA) said it delivered 6,547 Model S vehicles during Q1, and said that battery cell supply will constrain production in Q2
Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) announced the authorization of an additional $1B share repurchase program
Chesapeake (CHK) said SEC does not intend to recommend enforcement
Costco (COST) reported total company April SSS up 5%
DISH (DISH) said activated 639,000 gross new pay-TV subscribers in Q1
Amazon (AMZN) announced availability of Sunday delivery in 15 additional cities, including Austin, TX and Philadelphia, PA


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR), Regeneron (REGN), WhiteWave Foods (WWAV), Gray Television (GTN), EPL Oil & Gas (EPL), Mallinckrodt (MNK), Abraxas Petroleum (AXAS), Higher One (ONE), Triumph Group (TGI), Ellington Financial (EFC), Coeur Mining (CDE), LSB Industries (LXU), UGI Corporation (UGI), Relypsa (RLYP), Delek US (DK), Pharmaceuticals (AVEO), AVG Technologies (AVG), Corrections Corp. (CXW), Fox Factory (FOXF), QEP Resources (QEP), Solera (SLH), Protective Life (PL), SandRidge Energy (SD), Transocean (RIG), Textura (TXTR), Assured Guaranty (AGO), Triangle Capital (TCAP), American Water (AWK), Zillow (Z), Neenah Paper (NP), Malibu Boats (MBUU), Lannett (LCI), Tallgrass Energy (TEP), CenturyLink (CTL), Mavenir Systems (MVNR), Marin Software (MRIN), ESCO Technologies (ESE), Delcath Systems (DCTH), Millennial Media (MM), Bruker (BRKR), Numerex (NMRX), American Capital (ACAS), Navigators (NAVG), Brixmor (BRX), EnerSys (ENS), EVERTEC (EVTC), Prudential (PRU), Tesla (TSLA), 21st Century Fox (FOXA), A.V. Homes (AVHI), Franco-Nevada (FNV), OraSure (OSUR), Foundation Medicine (FMI), Unum Group (UNM)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Fuel Systems (FSYS), FXCM (FXCM), CaesarStone (CSTE), SunEdison (SUNE), Cogent (CCOI), AES Corp. (AES), NICE Systems (NICE), Kronos Worldwide (KRO), Tronox (TROX), Geospace (GEOS), PGT, Inc. (PGTI), Gastar Exploration (GST), Luxfer (LXFR), Atlas Financial (AFH), LHC Group (LHCG), OCI Resources (OCIR), Dynegy (DYN), AmeriGas (APU), Jones Energy (JONE), Brookdale Senior Living (BKD), Insulet (PODD), Energy Recovery (ERII), Sanchez Energy (SN), Mattersight (MATR), Global Brass & Copper (BRSS), Nektar (NKTR), Novatel Wireless (NVTL), GT Advanced (GTAT), EMCORE (EMKR), Atlas Resource Partners (ARP), Intercept (ICPT), MarkWest Energy (MWE), CF Industries (CF), (COUP), Gulfport Energy (GPOR), Antero Resources (AR), Quantum (QTM),  Inter Parfums (IPAR), Hansen Medical (HNSN), tw telecom (TWTC), PHH Corp. (PHH), InspireMD (NSPR), Caesar's (CZR), iPass (IPAS), Annaly Capital (NLY), ICF International (ICFI), Furiex (FURX), Sucampo (SCMP), SolarCity (SCTY), XOMA (XOMA), Body Central (BODY), Andersons (ANDE), PowerSecure (POWR), McDermott (MDR), Anacor (ANAC), I.D. Systems (IDSY), Roundy's (RNDY), TransEnterix (TRXC)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Himax Technologies (HIMX), Student Transportation (STB), Aqua America (WTR), KCAP Financial (KCAP), Kinross Gold (KGC), PennyMac (PFSI), Immunomedics (IMMU), LivePerson (LPSN), QEP Midstream Partners (QEPM), Expeditors (EXPD), Maiden Holdings (MHLD), Information Services (III), Novavax (NVAX), Cbeyond (CBEY), Bankrate (RATE)

DirecTV (DTV) working with Goldman (GS) on possible AT&T deal (T), WSJ says
FedEx (FDX) planning to charge by package size, WSJ reports
General Motors (GM) retains Steve Harris as adviser, Detroit News reports
AstraZeneca (AZN) shares rise on speculation of new Pfizer (PFE) offer, Reuters says
Rio Tinto (RIO) says business improvement program gaining speed, Reuters reports
Twitter (TWTR) still not cheap but could attract buyers, Barron's says

Alder Biopharmaceuticals (ALDR) 8M share IPO priced at $8.00
Atlas Resource Partners (ARP) files to sell 13.5M common units
China Commercial Credit (CCCR) 1.75M share Secondary priced at $4.00
Delek US (DK) files automatic common stock shelf for holders
Radian Group (RDN) 15.5M share Spot Secondary priced at $14.50
Stone Energy (SGY) files to sell 5M shares of common stock
Taylor Morrison (TMHC) files to sell 1.62M shares of Class A common stock


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