Frontrunning: August 13

  • Obama says Missouri shooting death tragic, reflection needed (Reuters)
  • U.S. Weighs Iraq Rescue Mission to Save Yazidis (WSJ)
  • Maliki says Abadi's appointment as Iraqi PM 'has no value' (Reuters)
  • Iran Joins U.S. in Backing Replacement for Iraq’s Maliki (BBG)
  • Kurds Push Attack in North Iraq as Maliki Clings to Power (BBG)
  • Obama Donors Embrace Corporate Inversions He Criticizes (BBG)
  • Syrian Forces Advance on Aleppo, Rebels Fear Another Siege (WSJ)
  • China Credit Gauge Unexpectedly Plunges (BBG)
  • Israel, Palestinians pursue Gaza deal with ceasefire clock ticking (Reuters)
  • Ebola Drug’s Success Bolsters Approach for Other Diseases (BBG)
  • With Natural Gas Byproduct, Iran Sidesteps Sanctions (NYT)
  • Kazakhs to Hoard Food as Putin Sanctions Rattle Alliance (BBG)
  • Behind the Collapse of Portugal's Espírito Santo Empire (WSJ)
  • Brokerages face exodus as advisers get better deal in indie firms (Reuters)
  • Banks Retreat From Market That Keeps Cash Flowing (WSJ)
  • builds brick-and-mortar presence with card-swiping device (Reuters)
  • Banking Lobby Backs Stricter Codes of Conduct for Currency Traders (WSJ)


Overnight Media Digest


* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <IPO-BABA.N> moved to address investor concerns ahead of its pending initial public offering by restructuring agreements to gain a bigger share of earnings from financial-services affiliate Alipay. (

* The United States is weighing a military mission in Iraq to rescue thousands of Yazidi refugees, a move that risks putting American forces in direct confrontation with Sunni fighters for the Islamic State. (

* Democrats fighting for revenues from oil companies in Alaska are reaching out to an old foe: Sarah Palin. The former GOP governor is a natural ally in a ballot fight to restore a law she signed in 2007 that implemented steep and progressive taxes on the biggest Alaska oil producers. (

* A critical part of the plumbing that keeps money flowing through the financial system is experiencing turmoil as new regulations prompt banks to step back from the multitrillion-dollar "repo" market. (

* Syrian government forces have nearly encircled Aleppo, preparing a siege to wrest control of the city from rebels in what would be the biggest blow yet to the three-year uprising.(

* Portugal's second-biggest bank, Banco Espírito Santo SA , collapsed this month, and Espírito Santo's main holding companies have filed for bankruptcy amid allegations of accounting problems and fraud. Regulators believe Switzerland's Eurofin Holding SA played a key role in financing the failed conglomerate.(

* The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a broad examination of alternative mutual funds, according to people familiar with the matter, kicking off regulatory scrutiny of one of the hottest and most controversial investment products to be offered to small investors. (

* Ernst & Young LLP wants the New York State Supreme Court to sign off on its recent legal win against New York's attorney general over whether it was responsible for the accounting woes that threw Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc into bankruptcy. (

* The prison sentences last week for two of the best-known anti-fraud specialists in China was a reminder of the stiff risks that can accompany buying and using information that the government deems private. (

* Japan's economy contracted sharply in the second quarter after a sales-tax increase in April sent household spending tumbling, which economists said could pressure the government to take additional stimulus measures. (

* A bad year got worse for Ocwen Financial Corp when the mortgage servicer said it would restate earnings because of accounting problems. (

* Escalating tensions with Russia sent Ukraine's currency tumbling to a record low against the dollar Tuesday, a move that could threaten the stability of the country's banking system and raise the prospect of losses for bondholders.(

* A proposed accounting change expected to force banks to boost the amount of reserves they hold against soured loans could catch many small and midsize lenders unprepared, according to a new survey of bank executives. (

* President Barack Obama has said that he wants the mission in Iraq to be international in scope, but on Tuesday European countries offered no firm military commitment to fight a powerful Islamic militant force there. (

* Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki grew increasingly isolated on Tuesday, pushed further to the political sidelines as powerful factions at home and his closest regional ally, Iran, threw their weight behind the man nominated to succeed him. (

* The mammoth Revel Casino Hotel said it would close next month after two years of operation, possibly carrying away 3,000 jobs from the beleaguered seaside city and dealing a setback to Governor Chris Christie's vision for its renewal. Revel had already filed for bankruptcy twice. (

* WellPoint Inc, the second-biggest U.S. insurer, plans to change its name to Anthem Inc, elevating the brand that it now uses for most of its health-insurance products. (



* Iran is finding a way around Western sanctions to export increasing amounts of an ultralight oil to China and other Asian markets, expanding the value of its trade by potentially billions of dollars a year. (

* Scholars are exhilarated by the prospect of tapping into the vast troves of personal data collected by Facebook Inc , Google Inc, Inc and a host of start-ups, which they say could transform social science research. (

* European companies rated below investment grade have turned to issuing junk bonds, following the lead of American businesses. For many companies, the high-yield junk bond market has become essential for raising money now that their local banks are making fewer corporate loans. (

* Syncora Guarantee Inc said Detroit's exit strategy had been tainted by what it called the biases of its chief mediator, whose job it was to impartially negotiate out-of-court settlements of as many of the city's outstanding debts as possible. (

* Audi AG said that in one province, the dealership network of its Chinese joint venture had broken national antitrust rules and would be punished by the government. The Chinese authorities have been looking at many automakers this summer. The focus of the review has been whether automakers have compelled their dealers to set high, standardized prices for replacement parts that the carmakers produced. (

* An important reading on the health of the eurozone economy is expected to show that growth stagnated in the recent quarter as German output faltered, confirming the assessment of many analysts that a lasting recovery remains out of reach for the region. (

* In a new report, Moody's says banks have remained "conservative" in their lending. The report acknowledged rising auto loan balances, but it concluded that "consumers owe less now than they did during the recession so they can afford to take on more debt." (

* Even as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <IPO-BABA.N>, the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut, moves closer to one of the most anticipated initial public offerings in recent history, potential investors are wondering about the future of its ties to its online payments affiliate Alipay. (

* As Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc and Pershing Square Capital Management try to take over Allergan Inc , each side appears to be consumed with outmaneuvering the other. (

* Carlyle Group LP has been searching for unusual investment opportunities and has shown a willingness to take small stakes in companies. Carlyle said on Tuesday it had minority investment in ad site and within the last year, Carlyle bought a minority stake in Beats Electronics and then roughly doubled its investment when the company was sold to Apple Inc. (

* A bidding battle for Australia's Treasury Wine Estates Ltd has called into question the case for standalone wine companies. The company, which owns Penfolds and other global wine labels, could be better managed. But a fragmented market and low brand loyalty also suggests it may not be suitable for public company treatment. (




** Canadian school boards and universities are relaxing admission criteria for international students, a measure aimed at bringing in much-needed new revenue. (

** The Public Health Agency of Canada is going to donate a made-in-Canada experimental Ebola vaccine to the West African outbreak response. The deputy head of the agency said the country saw the vaccine as a global resource and was in talks with international partners about how best to use the finite number of doses. (

Reports in the business section:

** Statistics Canada has taken the highly unusual step of pulling its latest jobs report after discovering a key mistake in its monthly snapshot of the Canadian economy. Statistics Canada won't say what the mistake was, but it is now rushing to produce new numbers and investigate what went wrong. It has promised to publish a full explanation once the review is complete. (


** The committee that monitors members of parliament's spending ruled Tuesday that the New Democratic Party had misled House of Commons officials about the location of staff assigned to offices in Quebec and may have also violated election spending rules.(


** In one week, security-holders at Calgary-based Arcan Resources Ltd will gather to vote on an arrangement involving privately held Aspenleaf Energy Ltd. The deal, that has been brought on by the company's "current capital structure and limited credit capacity," has attracted a team of critics. For instance, some holders of two outstanding issues of Arcan's convertible debentures have complained because they will not receive full payment for their investments but rather a 17.5 percent discount.(

** Tom Kloet extended his reign as chief executive officer at Toronto Stock Exchange owner TMX Group Ltd by two months on Tuesday. But the decision to stay in the job until Oct. 31 did not dampen speculation about his replacement, who sources say could come from an electronic trading firm in the United States. (




- Chinese commercial banks have announced plans to issue bonds worth more than 200 billion yuan ($32.5 billion) so far this year, stepping up debt issuance to help boost their capital adequacy ratios in compliance with global rules on bank capital known as Basel III.

- Local governments may loosen property controls further while regulators may encourage banks to offer discounts on loans for first-home buyers as the authorities appear to increasingly tend to move to bolster China's weakening real estate market, sources said.


- The Chinese team helping to fight the Ebola virus has denied a report that eight Chinese medical workers who treated patients suffering from the deadly Ebola virus have been placed in quarantine in Sierra Leone.

- Two international subsidiaries of China Mobile Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd are joining a $300 million project to lay down a new underwater cable in the Pacific, which will connect Asia and North America.


- Recent comments by U.S. President Barack Obama that China has failed to play an active role in Iraq can only embarrass the United States, who was an "intruder" in the Iraqi war and had thus been the cause of troubles there, the newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China, said in a commentary.



The Times


Carillion Plc has refused to walk away from its rejected 3-billion-pound ($5 billion) offer to merge with Balfour Beatty Plc, and has turned the spotlight on a claim by the construction group's executive chairman that it had an independent future.

The Guardian


One in five calls made by Vodafone Group Plc customers in rural areas are failing, according to official figures by the telecoms regulator that lay bare the poor service suffered by customers in some parts of the country.


The government's food watchdog has been forced to admit that an initial inquiry which cleared Scunthorpe, one of the UK's largest poultry processing plants, of hygiene failings was misleading.

The Telegraph


Carl Icahn, the billionaire activist investor, has accused U.S. companies of protecting chief executive officers who are "unfit" for the job, and called for a radical shake-up of the country's corporate governance standards.

Sky News


Legal & General Group Plc, Britain's biggest pension fund manager, will stun the City on Wednesday when it discloses that it is terminating its membership of the insurance industry's flagship trade body.



Fly On The Wall Pre-market Buzz


Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Retail sales for July at 8:30--consensus up 0.2%
Business inventories for June at 10:00--consensus up 0.4%



Abengoa Yield (ABY) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Demandware (DWRE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Essex Property Trust (ESS) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
FuelCell (FCEL) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Cowen


CSR (CSRE) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Crestwood Equity (CEQP) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
JDSU (JDSU) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley
JDSU (JDSU) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
King Digital (KING) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
King Digital (KING) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
King Digital (KING) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
King Digital (KING) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
King Digital (KING) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Marin Software (MRIN) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Regado Biosciences (RGDO) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen
Southern Company (SO) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
StarTek (SRT) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at First Analysis

Initiations (AMZN) coverage resumed with a Hold at Stifel
Amtech Systems (ASYS) initiated with an Outperform at Cowen (CRCM) coverage resumed with a Hold at Stifel
CoStar Group (CSGP) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
Criteo (CRTO) coverage resumed with a Hold at Stifel
Dice Holdings (DHX) coverage resumed with a Hold at Stifel
eBay (EBAY) coverage resumed with a Hold at Stifel
Facebook (FB) coverage resumed with a Buy at Stifel
FireEye (FEYE) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Fortinet (FTNT) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
GT Advanced (GTAT) initiated with an Outperform at Cowen
Google coverage resumed with a Buy at Stifel
HomeAway (AWAY)  coverage resumed with a Hold at Stifel
Imperva (IMPV) initiated with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray
LinkedIn (LNKD) coverage resumed with a Buy at Stifel
MakeMyTrip (MMYT) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
MercadoLibre (MELI) coverage resumed with a Buy at Stifel
NOW Inc. (DNOW) initiated with a Hold at KeyBanc
Novavax (NVAX) initiated with a Buy at Citigroup
Palo Alto (PANW) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Pandora (P) coverage resumed with a Buy at Stifel
Paragon Offshore (PGN) initiated with a Hold at Jefferies
RCS Capital (RCAP) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
RetailMeNot (SALE) coverage resumed with a Hold at Stifel
Speed Commerce (SPDC) coverage resumed with a Hold at Stifel
SunEdison (SUNE) initiated with a Market Perform at Cowen
Symantec (SYMC) initiated with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray
TripAdvisor (TRIP) coverage resumed with a Buy at Stifel
Twitter (TWTR) coverage resumed with a Hold at Stifel
Workday (WDAY) initiated with a Buy at Cantor


Alibaba (BABA) restructured its arrangement with Small and Micro Financial Services Company, including an amendment and restatement of the Alipay IPLA
ChannelAdvisor reported Amazon (AMZN) July SSS up 40.4%, eBay (EBAY) up 9.7%
King Digital (KING) announced a $150M special dividend and acquired game developer Nonstop Games. Total consideration for the acquisition consists of a $6M upfront cash payment and up to $84M of contingent consideration based upon criteria linked to revenues from games developed. King said it expects gross bookings to decline sequentially in Q3, followed by sequential gross bookings growth in Q4
WellPoint (WLP) changing corporate name to Anthem, Inc
Arrowhead Research (ARWR) provided an update on phase 2a study of ARC-520, and said it completed its dosing of 1mg/kg and 2mg/kg dose cohorts. The company's initial blinded data suggest that the magnitude of HBsAg knockdown is similar to non-human primate studies, including the chronically infected chimpanzee reported on previously
Amazon (AMZN) announced credit card reader Amazon Local Register
FleetCor Technologies (FLT) said it will acquire Comdata for $3.45B
Doral Financial (DRL) announced that it filed to delay its 10Q


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Fossil (FOSL), Silvercrest Asset (SAMG), Performance Sports Group (PSG), SunOpta (STKL), Bacterin (BONE), Luxoft (LXFT), Parsley Energy (PE), bluebird bio (BLUE), Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals (CYCC), Bottomline Technologies (EPAY), Inogen (ingn), Opower (OPWR), Myriad Genetics (MYGN), Tahoe Resources (TAHO), Synacor (SYNC), Fate Therapeutics (FATE), La Quinta (LQ), JDSU (JDSU), Cree (CREE), Reed's (REED)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Applied Industrial (AIT), Fortuna Silver Mines (FSM), StarTek (SRT), Tetraphase (TTPH), CafePress (PRSS), Corium (CORI), QuinStreet (QNST), Cerulean (CERU), Netlist (NLST), StemCells (STEM), ViaSat (VSAT), LipoScience (LPDX), Tucows Inc (TCX), Foundation Medicine (FMI), Dipexium Pharmaceuticals (dprx), Ignyta (RXDX)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
King Digital (KING), Cimatron (CIMT), Local (LOCM), Arrowhead (ARWR), Kingstone Companies (KINS)


Dish (DISH) viewed as favored T-Mobile (TMUS) acquirer after Sprint (S) drops bid, Bloomberg reports
Banks pressing Federal Reserve to delay rule on investments, WSJ says (GS, JPM, MS)
Target (TGT) says supply chain repair will relieve Canada worries, Reuters reports
Opel CFO expects to be profitable in Europe by mid-decade, Detroit News reports (GM)
Gartner: Google (GOOG) Chromebooks to reach 5.2M units in 2014, DigiTimes reports
Kate Spade (KATE) drop not buying opportunity, Barron's says
EverBank Financial (EVER) could have 20% upside, Barron's says


Cartesian (CRTN) files to sell 5.61M shares for holders
Celladon (CLDN) 4M share Secondary priced at $9.50
Insmed (INSM) 8.9M share Secondary priced at $11.25
Mattersight (MATR) files to sell 2.89M shares for holders
Newcastle Investment (NCT) files to sell 40M shares of common stock
Rex Energy (REXX) files to sell $125M of depositary shares
Rexford Industrial (REXR) files to sell 15M shares of common stock
Sprouts Farmers Markets (SFM) 15M share Secondary priced at $30.00


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