Frontrunning: February 23

  • Risk rally fades as stocks, oil slip back into the red (Reuters)
  • Syrian govt. accepts halt to 'combat operations' in line with U.S.-Russian plan (Reuters)
  • Earliest Chinese Data Signal Slowdown Hasn't Bottomed Out Yet (BBG)
  • The Trickle of U.S. Oil Exports Is Already Shifting Global Power (BBG)
  • Greek police remove migrants from Macedonian border as more land in Piraeus (Reuters)
  • Clinton, Sanders race takes on angrier tone after Nevada (Reuters)
  • London Whale’ Breaks Silence (WSJ)
  • Once more, Vienna ranked world's nicest city and Baghdad worst (Reuters)
  • Why Oil Producers Will Be Over a Barrel for a Long Time Yet (WSJ)
  • Hunt for foreign assets pits Japan Inc vs China  (Reuters)
  • Uber Says Driver Suspected of Killing Six Had Clean Record and 4.7 Rating (BBG)
  • British business bosses say exit from EU would hit economy and jobs (Reuters)
  • Ticket to a Tax Audit: $1 Million (WSJ)
  • BlackRock Warns Bond Traders They're Underestimating the Fed (BBG)
  • Suffering Miners Narrow Down (WSJ)
  • Home Depot Profit Tops Estimates as Housing Gains Spur Sales (BBG)
  • Robots Are Reading Trader Chats to Stop Next Wave of Bank Fines (BBG)
  • Apple, FBI Wage War of Words (WSJ)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

- An internal review at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. has raised questions about its accounting practices that will likely prompt the restatement of past financial results. (http://on.wsj.com/21lWKxM)

- Last month, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey faced off in a meeting to discuss how Washington and Silicon Valley could work together to combat terrorism. (http://on.wsj.com/1oympoy)

- Google is shuttering its comparison-shopping site for auto insurance, credit cards and mortgages after one year. (http://on.wsj.com/1TwmoNz)

- The nomination of Robert M. Califf, President Barack Obama's choice to head the Food and Drug Administration, cleared a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Monday. (http://on.wsj.com/1TC3W7n)

 

FT

Sysco Corp, the largest U.S. food distributor, said it would buy London-based food distributor Brakes Group from Bain Capital Private Equity in a deal valued at about $3.1 billion to strengthen its presence in Europe.

British supermarket operator Sainsbury has been given more time to make a firm bid for Argos-owner Home Retail , after a possible higher rival offer from South African group Steinhoff International emerged on Friday. Home Retail said on Monday the Takeover Panel watchdog had extended Tuesday's deadline for Sainsbury to formalise its takeover proposal to March 18, the same date as for Steinhoff to make a firm bid or walk away.

Top global miner BHP Billiton slashed its interim dividend by 75 percent on Tuesday, cutting it for the first time since 1988 following a collapse in prices for oil, iron ore, coal and other raw materials.

 

NYT

- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether a faulty blood-testing device may have compromised the results of a clinical trial that led to the approval of Johnson & Johnson's manufactured anti-clotting drug Xarelto, that has been prescribed to millions of Americans since it arrived on the market in 2011.(http://nyti.ms/1XJrCpC)

- Elected officials of the Atlantic city lashed out at Gov. Chris Christie and other New Jersey officials on Monday, calling their plan to take more control of the city's finances and the power to renegotiate contracts with the police and fire departments, fascist and hypocritical.(http://nyti.ms/1oyrJs3)

- The U.S. economy continued a strong rebound last year, with unemployment falling by half since the depths of the 2008 recession, wages growing and consumer confidence at its highest point in a dozen years, a White House report said on Monday.(nyti.ms/1oEdHFG)

- While the F.B.I. is pursuing a narrow focus on creating an alternative operating system for just one phone, Apple is arguing its side as broadly as possible by framing the government's request as a larger discussion of privacy and civil liberties.(http://nyti.ms/1Q55AIZ)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Canada's securities commissions imposed C$250 million ($182.02 million) in fines and compensation orders against wrongdoers last year, more than doubling the previous year's total as regulators moved more aggressively to try to deter criminals and assist fraud victims. (http://bit.ly/1p05wUe)

** The Canadian federal government is poised to give Alberta a badly-needed boost, about C$250 million in stabilization funding. Finance Minister Bill Morneau was expected to announce Tuesday that Ottawa will provide the funding under a rarely used program meant to help provinces hit by a sudden economic downturn. (http://bit.ly/1p05FXA)

NATIONAL POST

** Two market regulators have been urged to review whether enough information about Corus Entertainment Inc's proposed C$2.65 billion acquisition of Shaw Media Inc has been publicly disclosed to allow minority shareholders to make an informed decision, according to letters filed with the Ontario Securities Commission and the Toronto Stock Exchange late Friday. (http://bit.ly/1p02PBZ)

** The Ontario Chamber of Commerce says the province's businesses will need offset measures to help transition to the new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan. (http://bit.ly/1p05fR6)

** The Building and Land Development Association said there were 1,614 new homes bought in the Greater Toronto Area last month, 10 percent below the long-term average for the month and 22 per cent below results for January 2015. (http://bit.ly/1p05o70)

 

Britain

The Times

* Brexit puts jobs at risk, say 200 business chiefs

The bosses of more than a third of Britain's 100 largest companies are calling for the country to stay in the European Union, providing a boost to David Cameron as he fights to put his referendum campaign back on track. (http://thetim.es/1mTQUUE)

* Treasury broke rules to make watchdog change its forecast

The Office for Budget Responsibility changed its economic outlook after interference from the Treasury in a breach of rules designed to protect the independence of the fiscal watchdog. (http://thetim.es/1QWvvlK)

The Guardian

* HSBC 'taking too long to tackle financial crime'

HSBC Holdings Plc has admitted that an official monitor installed at the bank after a money-laundering scandal four years ago has raised "significant concerns" about the slow pace of change to its procedures to combat crime. (http://bit.ly/1QUgCRc)

* Brexit panic knocks pound to seven-year low

The pound tumbled to a seven-year low and the UK was warned its credit rating was at risk on Monday as the effect of Boris Johnson's backing for the Brexit campaign was felt in financial markets. (http://bit.ly/1QcvzBG)

The Telegraph

BHP Billiton slashes dividend after slumping to $5.67 bln loss

Mining giant BHP Billiton has endured its toughest 12 months since its creation in 2001, according to figures released on Monday night. The Anglo-Australian miner slashed its dividend for the first time in 15 years - from 62 cents to 16 cents - after slumping to a net loss of $5.67bn in the six months to Dec. 31. (http://bit.ly/1T2BBYp)

* Hackers target BAE Systems 100 times a year

Defence group BAE Systems Plc faces "serious and persistent" cyber attacks twice a week from hackers trying to steal the defence giant's secrets. The world's third-biggest arms group has revealed its computer-based defences are tested more than 100 times a year by what it believes are foreign government-backed hackers. (http://bit.ly/1KFqP7m)

Sky News

* Polls show companies back the UK staying in Europe

Two polls by business groups have bolstered David Cameron's case for staying in Europe after his EU reform deal split the Cabinet over the weekend. Surveys by the Institute of Directors and the manufacturers' organisation EEF found a majority of firms backed staying in the single market. (http://bit.ly/1SODW8F)

* UK PM's business advisers split on EU reform deal

Some of David Cameron's closest business advisers are refusing to endorse the European Union reform deal struck in Brussels last week. At least half a dozen of the 20 members of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Group have declined to put their names to a letter being published on Tuesday which will argue that the UK's exit from the EU would "put the economy at risk". (http://bit.ly/1Orb9zn)