Frontrunning: April 12

  • Futures flat as geopolitical risks weigh; earnings eyed (Reuters)
  • Brent oil rises for 8th day on possible extension to supply cut (Reuters)
  • U.S. accuses Russia of Syria gas attack 'cover up' (Reuters)
  • Xi Tells Trump China Wants Peaceful North Korea Solution (WSJ)
  • Tillerson, Lavrov Hold Talks in Moscow Amid Rising Tensions Over Syria (WSJ)
  • Russian diplomat says U.S. stance on Syria 'a mystery' (Reuters)
  • Trump's message to bankers: Wall Street reform rules may be eliminated (Reuters)
  • Puerto Rico seen sliding toward bankruptcy as deadline nears (Reuters)
  • Trump Lays Groundwork for Widespread Government Reorganization (BBG)
  • In surprise move, Iran's Ahmadinejad to run for president (AP)
  • Leftist’s Rise in French Polls Is Spooking Markets (BBG)
  • UK's Daily Mail to pay Melania Trump damages over modeling claims (Reuters)
  • Newly Energized Liberals Pour Record Effort Into Local Races (WSJ)
  • PR Nightmares: United Seat Fiasco Among Worst Corporate Gaffes (BBG)
  • Higher Yields Damp China’s Corporate Bond Market (WSJ)
  • United Airlines faces mounting pressure over hospitalized passenger (Reuters)
  • Japan automakers look to robots to keep elderly on the move (Reuters)
  • Airbnb signs dozens more tax agreements in the U.S., France (Reuters)


Overnight Media Digest


- Senior White House officials accused Russia of trying to cover up the suspected Syrian chemical attack last week, adding that the U.S. has concluded the Syrian military used banned sarin gas in the assault. The officials also questioned whether Russia had a role in the attack and suggested it may have known that its ally Syria was planning to use sarin.

- Three explosions hit a soccer team's bus just ahead of a major game in the German city of Dortmund on Tuesday, seriously injuring one player in what authorities described as a targeted attack on one of Europe's most prominent sports clubs.

- United Airlines Chief Executive Oscar Munoz apologized Tuesday for an altercation in which police forcibly removed a passenger from a flight in Chicago, seeking belatedly to quell a worldwide furor. The incident sparked outrage on social media, angered millions in United's fast-growing China market and drew condemnation on Capitol Hill.

- Uber Technologies Inc is losing its communications chief in the middle of a public-relations crisis for the ride-hailing company. Rachel Whetstone, who joined Uber in 2015 from Alphabet Inc's Google where she also led communications and public policy, said in a statement Tuesday she is leaving the company, without citing a reason.

- The English-language version of a voice-activated "virtual assistant" that is a major feature of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's newest flagship device won't be ready to go when the Galaxy S8 smartphone arrives in U.S. stores next week, according to people familiar with the matter.

- Elliott Management Corp has informed Akzo Nobel NV that it plans to call a shareholder meeting to try to oust the chairman of the company's supervisory board, ratcheting up the pressure on the paint giant to engage in sale talks.



*The Royal Marines will be cut by 200. The 200 posts, including many specialist roles, will be transferred from the marines to the Royal Navy to stave off staffing gaps.

*The British Library is considering a 500 million pounds ($624.35 million) extension that will offer it 100,000 sq ft of extra space for education, exhibitions and research next to its headquarters at St Pancras in London.

*Australia defended BHP Billiton Ltd on Tuesday, saying that any major changes to the corporate structure of the country's biggest company would need to be consistent with the "national interest". The defence came after activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors called on Monday for the scrapping of BHP's dual corporate structure involving Australian and British companies.



- A group of Chinese political activists filed a lawsuit in federal court against Yahoo on Tuesday, saying the company failed to properly oversee a $17 million fund it created a decade ago to help Chinese writers, democracy advocates and human rights lawyers persecuted for standing up to the country's government.

- Toshiba, a pillar of the modern Japanese economy whose roots stretch back to the country's industrial stirrings in the 19th century, warned on Tuesday that a disastrous foray into nuclear power may have crippled its business beyond repair.

- Uber has lost a string of top managers in recent months as the ride-hailing company has dealt with scandals over its workplace culture and its executives' behavior. That exodus is continuing with the exit of Rachel Whetstone, the company's head of policy and communications.

- Rolling Stone and a writer have agreed to settle a libel suit brought by a University of Virginia administrator over a debunked article that described a gangrape at the university, the magazine announced on Tuesday.

- LeEco has scrapped a planned $2 billion acquisition of U.S. consumer electronics company Vizio, citing unspecified "regulatory headwinds".




** A landmark deal between TransCanada Corp and Western Canadian natural gas companies for discounted, long-distance pipeline transport comes "just in time" to help stave off some competition from increasing U.S. production, says one of the key backers of the agreement.

** British Columbia Liberal Leader Christy Clark has launched the 41st general election in British Columbia, laying out a simple campaign theme that she is counting on voters to favour on May 9 – that only her party will keep the province's economy strong and job opportunities growing.

** Canadian oil producers are confident in Alberta's oil sands projects as a long-term play, betting that consolidation and a homegrown focus will drive down operating costs and make the industry more competitive as foreign players retreat.


** Cenovus Energy Inc CEO Brian Ferguson says the company is encouraged by the interest in its asset divestiture plan to fund part of the mega C$17.7 billion ($13.29 billion)deal to buy ConocoPhillips' Canadian assets, which should help improve investor sentiment around the acquisition.

** Pembina Pipeline Corp plans to build a propane export terminal in Prince Rupert, British Columbia where major liquefied natural gas export projects have stalled in recent years.

** Canadian oilsands producers worried about international capital fleeing to the U.S. should take heart from the long-term attractiveness of the reserves, according to a senior think-tank advisor.




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