Frontrunning: August 5

  • Second Ebola patient to arrive in U.S. on Tuesday (Reuters)
  • Ebola Drug Made From Tobacco Plant Saves U.S. Aid Workers (BBG)
  • Egypt plans to dig new Suez Canal costing $4 billion (Reuters)
  • Apple Buybacks Pay Most Ever as CEOs Spend $211 Billion (BBG)
  • DeMark Says Sell China Stocks Now After World’s Best Gain (BBG)
  • Investors Stung by Losses After Exiting Struggling Property Fund in China (WSJ)
  • B.A. in BTFD: MIT May Consider Granting Degrees in Less Than Four Years (BBG)
  • Too late, money's already been spent: GPIF Needs Overhaul Before Asset Changes, Shiozaki Says (BBG)
  • Oh look, another "truce": Israel withdraws troops, 72-hour Gaza truce begins (Reuters)
  • Israel Says Tunnel Mission Complete as Cease-Fire Starts (BBG)
  • Samsung Loses Top Spot in China, India as Locals Ascend (BBG)
  • Ukrainian troops cross into Russia to avoid fighting, talks underway (Reuters)
  • Crédit Agricole Hit By Portuguese Bank Woes (WSJ)
  • Hospitals Cash In on the Newly Insured (WSJ)
  • BMW Has Best Carmaking Profitability Since 2011 on SUVs (BBG)
  • Goldman Sachs Dumps Weaker Hedge-Fund Clients (WSJ)
  • Billionaire Musk Chooses South Texas for SpaceX Launchpad (BBG)
  • China says investigating two Canadians suspected of threatening national security (Reuters)
  • Japanese Stem-Cell Scientist Yoshiki Sasai Commits Suicide (WSJ)
  • What Crisis? EU Rules on Banks Lauded as Right After All (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* A rush of newly insured patients using health services has boosted hospital operators' fortunes but has racked up costs that insurers didn't anticipate, corporate filings and interviews with executives show. (

* Israel and Hamas agreed to a 72-hour cease-fire in Gaza starting Tuesday as Israeli forces were winding down their month-long campaign in the Palestinian territory. The deal followed Israel's pullout of most of its forces from the Gaza Strip over the weekend. (

* Sand prices are rising and companies are racing to build new mines in South Dakota and other locations as demand intensifies for the silica crystals that energy companies use to frack oil and gas wells. Sand is a key ingredient in items from solar panels to smartphones, but in recent years billions of pounds of it have been poured down wells to help coax more fuel out of the ground. (

* Moody's Investors Service warned New York officials and investors Monday that the state's much-improved rating is at risk as the federal government tries to claw back nearly $1.3 billion in Medicaid payments. Moody's said the potential Medicaid repayment is a "credit negative" for the state. The "repayment would result in an unwelcome drain on the state's cash balances," the report said, and future repayments would "pinch the state's liquidity." (

* The Securities and Exchange Commission said in federal court on Monday that it is seeking up to $750 million in sanctions from Texas entrepreneur Sam Wyly and the estate of his deceased brother, Charles Wyly. (

* As regulators try to untangle the financial mess surrounding Espírito Santo International SA, multiple threads lead back to a small Swiss company whose business interests are intermingled with the powerful Portuguese conglomerate. (

* A federal investigation into the handling of an anti-corruption commission by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office appears to have damaged the rising Democratic star's standing at home without hurting his chances at re-election, according to a new poll. (

* FedEx Corp and United Parcel Service Inc are increasingly moving their own packages through the U.S. Postal Service, putting pressure on the quasi-governmental agency and raising questions about whether the USPS is charging enough for the service. (

* China is using its six-year-old antimonopoly law to put foreign businesses under increasing pressure, a development that experts say will intensify as Beijing seeks greater sway over the prices paid by Chinese companies and consumers. (

* LinkedIn Corp said Monday it paid nearly $6 million in back wages and damages to 359 current and former employees who the U.S. Labor Department says weren't properly paid for overtime worked between February 2012 and February 2014. (

* General Motors Co must turn over documents related to its subprime auto-lending under a subpoena issued by the U.S. Justice Department, the Detroit auto maker disclosed in a regulatory filing Monday. (

* France will likely miss its deficit reduction targets due to weaker-than-hoped economic growth and risks the government will fail to implement spending cuts fully, Moody's Investors Service said Monday. (

* Two insurers are teaming up to create health-information exchanges, making the medical records of about nine million plan members available to participating doctors and hospitals. Blue Shield of California and WellPoint Inc's Anthem Blue Cross said they would spend $80 million to fund the first three years of the California Integrated Data Exchange. The new entity, set to be announced on Tuesday, will be set up as an independent nonprofit organization, though each insurer is appointing a member of its board. (



Governor of the Bank of Portugal Carlos Costa has blamed the former board of Banco Espirito Santo for the troubled lender's problem, after the country committed to spend 4.9 billion euros ($6.58 billion) to rescue its largest listed bank.

British drugmaker AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson wants to banish ideas popularised by supporters of U.S.-listed Pfizer who claimed he and the company's board were unaccommodating in the way they handled a takeover approach from the rival firm.

Australia's Treasury Wine Estates said it will engage in talks with KKR & Co LP after the world's largest listed winemaker received a revised takeover bid from the private equity firm.

British engineering firm Weir Group fired Bank of America Merrill Lynch as one of its two lead corporate brokers and kept on board Swiss bank UBS, after the former investment bank took on the same role for a rival firm.

Highlighting a widespread industry concern, HSBC Chairman Douglas Flint warned that the fear of punishment for making mistakes was causing employees at Europe's largest bank to become too risk-averse.

Britain's competition authorities should keenly investigate the wholesale gas market as they probe the country's biggest energy suppliers to determine whether the domestic energy sector is sufficiently competitive, said Tim Yeo, the chairman of the parliament's energy select committee.



* Federal prosecutors have begun a civil investigation of General Motors Co and other companies' subprime auto lending practices, focusing on the packaging and selling of questionable loans to investors. In the inquiry, federal prosecutors are looking for potential violations of Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act. (

* Banco Espirito Santo SA is not just battling with financial problems but also legal ones. Portuguese and European prosecutors and regulators are investigating possible accounting fraud, abuse of privileged information and accusations that the bank funneled dubious loans to parts of the Espirito Santo business empire, which includes hotels, hospitals, farms and more.(

* The Chinese government warned Microsoft Corp not to interfere with its antitrust investigation, days after officials conducted surprise raids on four of the technology giant's offices across the country. (

* Chegg Inc said that it has teamed with the Ingram Content Group, a big book distributor, to handle the business of physically storing and shipping textbooks. The deal is meant to free the company to continue building out its digital operations. (

* McDonald's Corp said that a scandal over a meat supplier in China was hurting sales in the region and that its global sales forecast for 2014 was "at risk." The company said in a regulatory filing that there was "significant negative impact" in China, Japan and other affected markets, which make up about 10 percent of McDonald's revenue. (

* Google is sponsoring an elite conference this week at a golf resort in Sicily, with a guest list of chief executives, investors and celebrities, all of whom were invited to bring their families. On the agenda are high-minded discussions of global issues - along with relaxation by the Mediterranean Sea. The Google conference projects an aura of exclusivity - its existence has not previously been disclosed. It is called, simply, the Camp. (

* With Time Warner Inc's rejection last month of an $80 billion bid by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, the mating ritual had begun, or so it seemed. But Time Warner's unyielding stance has at least some analysts wondering if an acquisition really is inevitable. (

* The Gannett Co Inc is near a deal to buy the 73 percent of that it does not already own for $1.8 billion, giving the media company complete control over the online car-sales website. (

* The State of Texas and SpaceX, the technology company led by Elon Musk have announced that the company will build the first commercial site for orbital launches on the state's southernmost tip. (

* Seeking to head off a costly election-year fight over oil and gas drilling that could threaten vulnerable Colorado Democrats, Governor John Hickenlooper said Monday that he had reached a deal to keep two anti fracking measures off November's ballots. (

* Warburg Pincus said on Monday that it planned to invest up to $600 million in Zenith Energy, a company that aims to build oil and natural gas terminals abroad. (

* Fosun International Ltd, the Chinese investment group that likens itself to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc, said it was making its first push into the oil and natural gas business, with a $441 million bid for Roc Oil Co Ltd of Australia. (

* Shares in the world's biggest pork producer, WH Group Ltd of China, soared in their trading debut in Hong Kong on Tuesday, signaling renewed appetite among investors for Chinese initial public offerings. WH Group's sizzling debut on the Hong Kong market came just three months after it scrapped plans for a $5.3 billion share sale. (




* The Canadian government's secretive electronic intelligence agency, Communications Security Establishment Canada, is not disclosing how long it can hold onto Canadians' communications, even though its leaders have said that "firm" time limits are in place to protect privacy. (

* Canadian National Railway Co says it is still negotiating with the Gitxsan First Nation, as the deadline passed to vacate land along the Skeena River in northwestern British Columbia that is claimed by the Gitxsan. (

Reports in the business section:

* Amid mounting public concern over the link between pesticides and the decline of insect pollinators, the industry group that represents the makers of the chemicals says restricting use of the crop protection would "handcuff" farmers in their battle against insects. (


* An official of the city of Nunavut says a plan to douse Iqaluit's dump fire, which has been curling northern nostrils for months, has been delayed by the city's attempt to get someone else to pay for it. The fire has been fouling air with chemicals since May 20. (

* Smoke from Canada's wildfires, which have burned vast tracks of forest in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, has been spotted as far away as Portugal. And its travel is fuelled in part by incredible clouds created by the fires, that act like chimneys funnelling smoke and ash as high as 10 to 15 kilometres into the atmosphere. (


* Air Canada says it may resume flights to Venezuela that were suspended in March, if outstanding issues such as the payment of funds from ticket revenues are addressed by the South American country. (

* A boardroom shake-up at Cliffs Natural Resources Inc has raised the likelihood that its international assets will hit the market, creating some intriguing buying opportunities for Canadian miners in their own backyard. These assets include a troubled iron ore mine in Quebec and a huge chromite deposit in Northern Ontario's "Ring of Fire". (




- State-owned enterprise Aluminium Corp of China (CHALCO) and privately-owned Jinjiang Group (Hangzhou) have entered into a joint venture, as China looks to accelerate mixed ownership reforms.


- New loans issued by China's "big four" banks, Bank of China Ltd, China Construction Bank Corp, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd, increased by 210 billion yuan ($33.99 billion) in July. Their deposits fell by about 1.5 trillion yuan, reversing from a 2.2 trillion yuan growth in June.


- The seismic belt of China's Sichuan-Yunnan Region is currently active, geologist Yang Yong said.


- China's railway building boom is expected to boost the country's struggling steel, cement, glass and other heavy industries in the second half of this year.

- More than 4,000 workers in Microsoft Corp's Nokia division may lose their jobs in the company's global downsizing plan, China Daily said, citing a person familiar with the situation.


- China's economy grew at a "new normal" rate in the first six months of this year, with its former high-speed growth slowing but still maintaining a sustainable rebound, the newspaper said in a commentary. Adapting to these "new normal" conditions will be good for the economy, it said.


The Times


Lyndon Lea, the millionaire polo-playing boss of British private equity group Lion Capital, has defended his decision to invest in American Apparel, the U.S. fashion retailer that is embroiled in a bitter dispute with its founder.


House building in Britain is increasing at the fastest rate in more than a decade, creating record numbers of jobs as demand for property continues to soar, according to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.


BT has been shunned by the government for a lucrative deal to upgrade the way the emergency services communicate during a major incident in a bitter disappointment for the country's oldest telecoms operator.

The Guardian


Anger is growing over the return of the east coast mainline to private hands after it emerged that it had generated 1 billion pounds for UK taxpayers since 2009.


Tax-free Isas should be transformed into "lifetime" savings accounts topped up with Treasury cash, according to Michael Johnson, a research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies think tank.


The growing housing benefit bill, particularly for those in work, is responsible for much of the increase in welfare costs, rather than out of work benefits for the idle poor, Labour will say on Tuesday.

The Telegraph


Francois Hollande's efforts to tackle France's ballooning deficit and kick-start its flagging economy have left the country trailing behind rivals such as the UK, Moody's has warned.


Defence group Lockheed Martin, along with out-sourcer Capita and consultancy KPMG, has signed a 17-year, 90 million pound ($152 million) deal to upgrade the Metropolitan Police's command-and-control system.

Sky News


CBI President Mike Rake is in talks to become chairman of the RAC breakdown recovery service ahead of a potential 2 billion pound stock market listing.


The former boss of Britain's biggest bookmaker, Ralph Topping, will declare his support on Tuesday for an independent Scotland, arguing that pro-union campaigners have been guilty of "political posturing" whose arguments lack economic logic.



Fly On The Wall Pre-market Buzz


Significant domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Markit services PMI for July at 9:45--consensus 60.8
ISM non-manufacturing index for July at 10:00--consensus 56.5
Factory orders for June at 10:00--consensus up 0.6%



CGG SA (CGG) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Canaccord
CTI BioPharma (CTIC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at WallachBeth
Clayton Williams (CWEI) upgraded to Buy from Accumulate at Global Hunter
Comerica (CMA) upgraded to Neutral from Negative at Susquehanna
Fresenius Medical (FMS) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Himax (HIMX) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Kite Realty Trust (KRG) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James
MYR Group (MYRG) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Mercer (MERC) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Mueller Water (MWA) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Brean Capital
Telephone and Data (TDS) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James
U.S. Cellular (USM) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James


Five9 (FIVN) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest
ITT Educational (ESI) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at William Blair
ITT Educational (ESI) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Iliad (ILIAF) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Ocwen Financial (OCN) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer
RetailMeNot (SALE) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Tenet (THC) downgraded to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna


Alcobra (ADHD) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
ServiceMaster (SERV) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
ServiceMaster (SERV) initiated with an Outperform at RW Baird
ServiceMaster (SERV) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray


Gannett (GCI) to acquire remaining 73% interest in Classified Ventures, which owns, from A.H. Belo (AHC) and McClatchy (MNI) for $1.8B
Gannett (GCI) to spin-off publishing business to shareholders
AIG (AIG) agreed to $960M settlement in lawsuit over allegedly misleading investors
Moody's changed U.K. banking outlook to negative from stable (HSBC, BCS, ING, CS, UBS, LYG, DB, SAN, RBS)
GT Advanced (GTAT), which reported Q2 results, narrowed FY14 guidance and backed its FY16 EPS target, reported that the build-out of the company's Arizona facility is nearly complete
Chegg (CHGG) formed a strategic alliance with Ingram Content Group
ITT Educational (ESI) CEO Kevin Modany to resign, Eugene Feichtner named COO


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

Regeneron (REGN), Cinemark (CNK), Time Inc. (TIME), Akorn (AKRX), Integra LifeSciences (IART), Zebra Technologies (ZBRA), Atlas Pipeline Partners (APL), Marathon Oil (MRO), EPAM Systems (EPAM), Otter Tail (OTTR), Northwest Pipe (NWPX), Bristow Group (BRS), EarthLink (ELNK), Allied Nevada Gold (ANV), TPG Specialty Lending (TSLX), Heritage Insurance (HRTG), ChannelAdvisor (ECOM), Emerald Oil (EOX), Endurance Specialty (ENH), Protective Life (PL), Checkpoint Systems (CKP), Interactive Intelligence (inin), McDermott (MDR), Tenet (THC), Alleghany (Y), Advanced Energy (AEIS), PharmAthene (PIP), Five9 (FIVN), Limelight Networks (LLNW), Concur (CNQR), WageWorks (WAGE), Douglas Dynamics (PLOW), Rudolph Technologies (RTEC), TriNet (TNET), Varonis (VRNS), Comstock Resources (CRK), Tessera (TSRA), Pioneer Natural (PXD), Acura Pharma (ACUR), Nautilus (NLS), Kforce (KFRC), Chegg (CHGG), PetroQuest (PQ), Borderfree (BRDR), AIG (AIG), RigNet (RNET), Sykes Enterprises (SYKE), Argo Group (AGII)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:

Northwest Natural Gas (NWN), Allot Communications (ALLT), Northern Tier (NTI), Western Refining Logistics (WNRL), Western Refining (WNR), Vantage Drilling (VTG), Endeavour (END), Landauer (LDR), Landauer (LDR), Nortek (NTK), Mid-Con Energy (MCEP), Vectren (VVC), Willbros Group (WG), American Capital Senior Floating (ACSF), Dresser-Rand (DRC), Albany International (AIN), FairPoint (FRP), LeapFrog (LF), Vanguard Natural (VNR), PHH Corp. (PHH), Cubic (CUB), Approach Resources (AREX), ONE Gas (OGS), GT Advanced (GTAT), RealPage (RP), Carmike Cinemas (CKEC), Greenlight Capital (GLRE), Orion Energy (OESX), Imprivata (IMPR), CTI BioPharma (CTIC), Cutera (CUTR), RetailMeNot (SALE), Wesco Aircraft (WAIR)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:

Sucampo (SCMP), Hi-Crush Partners (HCLP), Mazor Robotics (MZOR), MDU Resources (MDU), Rosetta Resources (ROSE), Sun Hydraulics (SNHY), Mueller Water (MWA), Solar Capital (SLRC), Texas Roadhouse (TXRH), Kaman (KAMN), Kona Grill (KONA), MTS Systems (MTSC), Axcelis (ACLS)


Fox (FOXA) anticipated to press for Time Warner (TWX) agreement Wednesday, Reuters reports
Triangle Petroleum (TPLM) seeks adviser for potential sale of unit, Bloomberg reports
Pandora (P) mulls talk radio to attract more car listeners, Bloomberg reports
Verizon (VZ) defends policy of slowing data speeds for some customers, Re/code reports
Newly insured patients boosting income for hospital operators, WSJ reports
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) looks like a buy, Barron's says
Investors should hold off on Michael Kors (KORS), Barron's says


Berry Plastics (BERY) files to sell 14.73M shares for holders
Extended Stay America (STAY) files to sell 21M paired shares for holders
Physicians Realty Trust (DOC) files to sell 4.52M shares for holders


No comments yet! Be the first to add yours.