Frontrunning: August 1

  • As we predicted yesterday, the "big" Gaza ceasefire lasted all of a few hours (Reuters)
  • To Lift Sales, G.M. Turns to Discounts (NYT)
  • Espirito Santo Family’s Swift Fall From Grace Jolts Portugal (BBG)
  • Argentine Debt Feud Finds Much Fault, Few Fixes (WSJ)
  • Fiat Says Ciao to Italy as Merger With Chrysler Ends Era (BBG)
  • Euro zone factory growth eases in July as inflation fades away (Reuters)
  • CIA concedes it spied on U.S. Senate investigators, apologizes (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Reports Losses After Pro-Russian Ambush Near Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Crash Area (WSJ)
  • U.S. says India refusal on WTO deal a wrong signal (Reuters)
  • Why Putin Has 2006 Flash Before His Eyes After Sanctions (BBG)
  • Falling Wages in Southern EU Vex Draghi as Youth Punished (BBG)
  • Congressman Cantor to resign seat early: Richmond Times-Dispatch (Reuters)
  • Eastern Europe Punished in Markets After Opposing Putin (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* Israel and Hamas agreed to a three-day cease fire in the Gaza conflict with the hope of forging a more lasting peace. (

* Central Intelligence Agency officers snooped on computers used by a Senate committee investigating the CIA's interrogation program, an internal agency report has concluded; a critical finding in a bitter standoff between two government branches. (

* A tanker of oil from Texas has set sail for South Korea, the first unrestricted sale of unrefined American oil since the 1970s. How that $40-million shipment avoided the nearly four-decade ban on exporting U.S. crude is a tale involving two determined energy companies, loophole-seeking lawyers, and an unprecedented boom in American drilling that could create a glut of ultra-light oil. (

* The Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US Inc deal that has been in talks for more than six months was lurched on Thursday when France's Iliad SA entered with a buyout offer for T-Mobile, causing a clash between the telecommunications industry's titans. (

* The calm that pervaded financial markets for months evaporated as stocks tumbled in Europe and the United States, with the Dow industrials erasing its gains for the year after suffering its worst one-day loss since February. (

* Argentina's default on $29 billion in debt brought a stock market selloff and finger pointing by the Argentine government and creditors. But investors held out hope that a resolution to the crisis could be reached. (

* Investors retreated from risky corporate debt on Thursday, sending prices tumbling and deepening fears of an end to a long rally in U.S. junk bonds. This decline reflects fresh signs that the growth in the United States is picking up in earnest, a trend that many global bond managers expect to eventually prompt a Federal Reserve interest rate increase that would likely squeeze bond returns. (

* The energy boom in the United States is reflecting a noticed side effect: American oil and gas companies are paying less in federal income taxes. Energy companies are spending billions of dollars a year to drill in shale formations across the country, sending the nation's daily oil output up by almost 50 percent in just the past few years. All that spending has made drillers take advantage of incentives in the tax code for drilling and capital expenditures, deferring billions of dollars in income tax. (

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <IPO-BABA.N> is backing another California startup, announcing a $120-million investment in gaming company Kabam Inc and a partnership to publish and distribute its free-to-play mobile games. (

* Sony Corp sharply cut its forecast for smartphone sales, dealing a blow to the Japanese electronics maker's hopes for recovery. (

* The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday laid out a proposed new regulatory plan to oversee potentially thousands of laboratory developed medical tests that the agency contends can be prone to errors. (



French telecommunications company Iliad has made a surprise offer for control of T-Mobile U.S. that values the third-largest U.S. carrier at $29.5 billion.

Companies across the eurozone bloc warned that the crisis in Russia and Ukraine is already impacting business, as the European Union's toughest sanctions against Russia since the end of the cold war sent ripples through the continent's boardrooms.

Tesla Motors Chief Executive Elon Musk unveiled plans for a massive expansion in China, with as many as a third of the U.S. electric carmaker's global network of service centres located in the country by the end of 2015.

Corporate networking site LinkedIn beat analyst expectations in its second quarter, sending its shares up as much as 12 percent in after-hours trading in New York.

French telecoms-equipment maker Alcatel Lucent intends to float part of its submarine-cables division as it aims to complete 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion) of asset sales by the end of next year.



* Kabam, a video game start-up, said on Thursday that it has received a $120 million investment from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <IPO-BABA.N>. The new round gives Alibaba a board seat and what is likely a significant stake in Kabam, which said it is now worth more than $1 billion. (

* Tesla Motors Inc announced on Thursday that it had an agreement with Panasonic Corp to build a large-scale battery plant in the United States. The planned factory will produce batteries for Tesla's all-electric vehicles, as well as modules for the stationary storage market. The company said it estimated that the plant and its associated supplier complex, which it is calling the Gigafactory, would employ 6,500 people by 2020. (

* Federal authorities are sounding alarms about a wide range of fraudulent schemes involving a popular prepaid money card product. Thousands of consumers have been lured into sending money through the card, called MoneyPak. For online fraudsters, the reusable green-and-white paper card that can be used to quickly reload, or transfer, hundreds of dollars in cash onto another prepaid card is often the money conduit of choice.(

* In February, General Motors Co hit a milestone of sorts when its sales incentives, as tracked by the research firm, dropped below those of its domestic rivals. But since its safety crisis began to mount in the spring, the automaker has piled on cash incentives and cheap lease deals to invigorate sales of its passenger cars, particularly the smaller models, joining what some of its competitors have been doing as well. (

* Target Corp named Brian Cornell as its new chief executive on Thursday, bringing in an outsider to lead the company for the first time as it looked to right itself. Cornell was most recently the chief executive of PepsiCo's Americas Foods unit. (

* Lenders to Puerto Rico's electric power authority are giving the beleaguered utility another two weeks before it has to make past-due payments on its lines of credit. PREPA owes money on two main credit lines - a roughly $250 million line from Citigroup Inc and a $550 million line from a syndicate of banks. (

* Iliad SA, France's fourth-biggest mobile company, said on Thursday that it had made a $15-billion bid for a majority stake in T-Mobile US Inc, a company that is roughly 60 percent bigger than it in market value. Under the terms of the deal, Iliad said it would offer $15 billion for a 56.6 percent stake in T-Mobile US. The French company said it valued the remaining stake in T-Mobile US at $40.50 a share, based on unspecific cost savings totaling $10 billion to be created from the deal. (

* Shares in Synchrony Financial, the North American retail finance unit being spun off by General Electric Co , opened largely unchanged on Thursday after it raised about $2.9 billion in its initial public offering. Synchrony Financial, which handles private-label credit cards for major retailers like Gap Inc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc, ranks as the largest IPO this year in terms of money raised. (

* David Johnson, a former executive at the mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae, is joining FTI Consulting Inc as its chief financial officer. He will take over the role on Aug.25. (

* Four years after federal regulators passed new rules aimed at curbing overdraft fees, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is still finding problems with the high fees that banks charge customers when they overdraw their accounts. In a new report released, the agency said overdraft fees continue to pile up for many bank customers, particularly among young people. (

* The Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday that it would start regulating medical laboratory testing, saying that tests used to make important treatment decisions must be vetted and validated before they go into use. (

* Microsoft Corp has suffered a setback in its efforts to block United States federal prosecutors from seizing a Microsoft customer's data that is stored overseas. Judge Loretta Preska of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday upheld a magistrate judge's ruling that the company must turn over the customer's emails held in a Microsoft data center in Ireland. Microsoft plans to appeal the ruling. (




* China's ambassador to Canada, Luo Zhaohui, has said if Ottawa has evidence that Beijing is responsible for a cyberattack on a top Canadian research body, it should turn it over to the Chinese government.

The Canadian government this week said computers at the National Research Council were breached, and pointed to "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor." (

* The Canadian government has denied a request from freedom-of-expression charity, pen Canada, for auditors' guidelines on political activity, saying revealing how the Canada Revenue Agency conducts audits could hamper their work. (

In the business section:

* Wind Mobile SA's foreign owner has put a C$300 million price tag on the startup wireless carrier, but with a number of players circling the asset, the ultimate outcome may depend on Canada's efforts to encourage the consolidation of new entrants in the cellular industry. Quebecor Inc said Thursday it is still in talks over financial and strategic arrangements that could culminate in it playing a role in a consolidated fourth national wireless carrier. (


* Prime Minister Stephen Harper is reiterating his government's hard line against Hamas, saying it is solely responsible for the death and destruction in Gaza. Harper said while no one likes to see the suffering and loss that's occurring in the Middle East, Hamas is to blame. (

* Despite attempts by Justin Trudeau-led federal Liberals to win back ethnic voters, the Conservatives continue to raise more money from Chinese-Canadians than any other party, new fundraising data suggest. (


* Wal-Mart Stores Inc's Canadian business's new Chief Executive Dirk Van den Berghe's hiring could be the surest sign yet that the biggest retailer in the world wants to get smaller in Canada. Finding space for its stores in the urban markets of Canada's major cities has been a stumbling block for the country's largest mass merchant, which has been rapidly expanding its grocery business to all of its big-box stores across Canada. (

* Quebecor Inc CEO Pierre Dion reiterated his demand that Canada bring in new rules to force down roaming rates before his company consider becoming Canada's fourth wireless carrier, but he also cautioned that even if Quebecor gets what it wants, it might not take the challenge. (



The Times


Royal Dutch Shell has mothballed a multibillion-dollar shale gas joint venture in eastern Ukraine amid the escalating conflict with Russia. (


Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has attacked the energy industry regulator for making "false" accusations of profiteering in an escalating rift over the size of household bills for electricity and gas. (


Balfour Beatty has ended discussions for a proposed 3 billion pound ($5.07 billion) merger with Carillion and angrily accused its construction industry rival of scuppering the proposed tie-up. (

The Guardian


Profits at Lloyds Banking Group more than halved in the first six months of the year as its bill for the payment protection insurance scandal increased by 600 million pounds and it paid out penalties for rigging interest rates. (


Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has revealed its website was hacked in 2010 and personal details of more than 649,000 customers stolen. (

The Telegraph


The head of Santander UK, Britain's fifth-largest high street bank, has said that regulations to introduce seven-year clawbacks on bankers' bonuses could threaten London's position as a leading financial centre. (


Strong demand for faster internet access helped BT deliver a 7 percent increase in profits for the first quarter, as the company also continued to strip costs out of its struggling IT services division. (

Sky News


Mark Yallop, who played a key role in the administration of the scandal-hit Libor benchmark, will leave his role as UBS's UK chief executive at the end of September. (

The Independent


Britain's Serious Fraud Office has agreed to pay property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz 1.5 million pounds in damages in one of the most embarrassing episodes to hit the agency following a botched investigation. (



Fly On The Wall Pre-market Buzz


Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Nonfarm payrolls for July at 8:30--consensus 233K
Unemployment rate for July at 8:30--consensus 6.1%
Personal income for June at 8:30--consensus up 0.4%
Personal spending for June at 8:30--consensus up 0.4%
Markit final manufacturing PMI for July at 9:45--consensus 56.5
U. of Michigan consumer sentiment for July at 9:55--consensus 81.5



ArcBest (ARCB) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Cowen
Barclays (BCS) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Berenberg
DeVry (DV) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel
Expedia (EXPE) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Invesco (IVZ) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Iridium (IRDM) upgraded to Buy from Fair Value at CRT Capital
Marathon Petroleum (MPC) upgraded at Credit Suisse
Marathon Petroleum (MPC) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
OceanFirst upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
PG&E (PCG) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Pharmacyclics (PCYC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at WallachBeth
Progressive (PGR) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Keefe Bruyette
Quanta Services (PWR) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Quintiles (Q) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at SunTrust
Red Hat (RHT) upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Societe Generale
Selective Insurance (SIGI) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Signature Bank (SBNY) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James
Strayer (STRA) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at Piper Jaffray
Strayer (STRA) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Strayer (STRA) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
SunPower (SPWR) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Brean Capital
Synalloy (SYNL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee
Tableau (DATA) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho


3D Systems (DDD) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
3D Systems (DDD) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Ambev (ABEV) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer
Boyd Gaming (BYD) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Campus Crest (CCG) downgraded to Hold from Buy at MLV & Co.
Education Realty (EDR) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
EnPro (NPO) downgraded to Hold from Buy at KeyBanc
Generac (GNRC) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
Hyatt Hotels (H) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Jive Software (JIVE) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Montpelier Re (MRH) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Ocwen Financial (OCN) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Randgold Resources (GOLD) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Randgold Resources (GOLD) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
RenaissanceRe (RNR) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley
ServiceSource (SREV) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities (WWWW) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at SunTrust


Arista Networks (ANET) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
Casella Waste (CWST) initiated with a Hold at Stifel
Finish Line (FINL) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
PTC Therapeutics (PTCT) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
Progressive Waste (BIN) initiated with a Hold at Stifel
Prosensa (RNA) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
Sangamo (SGMO) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
Sarepta (SRPT) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer


Tesla (TSLA) announced that it broke ground on a possible Gigafactory location in Reno, Nevada. The company also forecast 100,000 unit run rate by end of 2015, split between Model S, X
Sanofi (SNY) raised its stake in Regeneron (REGN) to 22.5% from 21.6% (WWWW) acquired U.K. online directory company Scoot
LinkedIn (LNKD) said cumulative members grew 32% in Q2 to 313M
Array BioPharma (ARRY) received orphan status for ovarian cancer treatment
Genesee & Wyoming (GWR) said North American business outlook favorable in 2014


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:

Tesla (TSLA), LinkedIn (LNKD), Expedia (EXPE), ImmunoGen (IMGN), Catamaran (CTRX), Calpine (CPN), Tesco (TESO), Genesee & Wyoming (GWR), Gentherm (THRM), Hilton (HLT), Church & Dwight (CHD), Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA), Oil States (OIS), Santander Chile (BSAC), Nevsun Resources (NSU), Empire District Electric (EDE), Territorial Bancorp (TBNK), Ashland (ASH), SurModics (SRDX), Nektar (NKTR), AXT, Inc. (AXTI), BioTelemetry (BEAT), Community Health (CYH), Autobytel (ABTL), Sierra Wireless (SWIR), Planar Systems (PLNR), MaxLinear (MXL), PMC-Sierra (PMCS), Fluidigm (FLDM), Microchip Technology (MCHP), DaVita (DVA), Arch Capital (ACGL), Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), Jive Software (JIVE), Exelixis (EXEL), Imperva (IMPV), Electro Scientific (ESIO), Seattle Genetics (SGEN), Ellie Mae (ELLI), Standard Pacific (SPF), Brooks Automation (BRKS), ON Semiconductor (ONNN), Fluor (FLR), SunPower (SPWR), Rockwell Medical (RMTI), Omnicell (OMCL), Skullcandy (SKUL), GoPro (GPRO), Genpact (G), Quaker Chemical (KWR), DigitalGlobe (DGI), Tableau (DATA), Trecora Resources (TREC), Green Dot (GDOT), ARRIS (ARRS), Xencor (XNCR), GlycoMimetics (GLYC), Trulia (TRLA), Outerwall (OUTR), Edison International (EIX), Affymetrix (AFFX), DXP Enterprises (DXPE)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:

PBF Energy (PBF), Shenandoah (SHEN), Global Power Equipment (GLPW), A.V. Homes (AVHI), Cheniere Energy Partners LP (CQP), LRR Energy (LRE), Mercer (MERC), ARMOUR Residential (ARR), Cheniere Energy (LNG), GFI Group (GFIG), Idenix (IDIX), North Valley Banc (NOVB), Immersion (IMMR), Saul Centers (BFS), YRC Worldwide (YRCW), Alphatec (ATEC), ServiceSource (SREV), American Vanguard (AVD), Vocera (VCRA), Northeast Utilities (NU), Synaptics (SYNA), Bill Barrett (BBG), Computer Programs (CPSI), ResMed (RMD), STAAR Surgical (STAA), Live Nation (LYV), Westport (WPRT), HFF Inc. (HF), Boyd Gaming (BYD), Kodiak Oil & Gas (KOG), Bravo Brio Restaurant (BBRG), Matson (MATX), Pharmacyclics (PCYC), FleetCor (FLT), Cerus (CERS), Maxwell (MXWL), Einstein Noah (BAGL)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:

Exelis (XLS), Eldorado Gold (EGO), Cavco Industries (CVCO), Erie Indemnity (ERIE), SS&C Technologies (SSNC), Southwestern Energy (SWN), MRC Global (MRC), Natural Grocers (NGVC), Ikanos (IKAN), Callidus Software (CALD), Hansen Medical (HNSN), (WWWW), PerkinElmer (PKI), Addus HomeCare (ADUS), Epiq Systems (EPIQ), Western Union (WU)


Analyst says Apple (AAPL) may ship just 3M iWatch units in 2014, Apple Insider reports
Sources say HSBC (HSBC), BNP Paribas (BNPQY) to finance Iliad's (ILIAF) T-Mobile (TMUS) bid, Reuters reports
General Motors (GM) has offered many discounts in recent months, NY Times says
Alibaba (BABA) makes strategic investment in mobile game developer Kabam, WSJ reports
SeaWorld (SEAS), Southwest Air (LUV) terminate 26-year marketing relationship, WSJ reports
Ford's (F) executive chairman says CEO transition "smooth," Detroit News reports


Athlon Energy (ATHL) 12.5M share Secondary priced at $46.25
Bacterin (BONE) files to sell common stock and warrants
Baxano Surgical (BAXS) files $26.28M mixed securities shelf
FCB Financial (FCB) 7.52M share IPO priced at $22.00
Hill International (HIL) 8.5M share Secondary priced at $4.25
Loxo Oncology (LOXO) 5.262M share IPO priced at $13.00
Mobileye (MBLY) 35.6M share IPO priced at $25.00
RGS Energy (RGSE) files to sell 4.2M shares for selling stockholders
VTTI Energy (VTTI) 17.5M share IPO priced at $21.00


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